Wow has it really been 20 years since Brody and her band The Distillers unleashed their seminal debut album on the world.
Well believe it or not it has and what we have here is a freshly remastered version which sounds fantastic so now is as good a time as any to take a look back on this stunning piece of music.
The album starts off with the snotty punk of “Oh Serena” and man does this remaster sound good with the rhythm section of Mat Young and Kim ‘Chi’ Fuelleman sounding thunderous and Brody’s and Caspers guitars thrashing away. This ladies and gentlemen is how to start an album off, what a bang.
“Idoless” is up next and Brody’s rip snarling vocal sounds magnificent and yet again we are treated to a full-on wall of sound.
“The world comes tumblin’ has always been this reviewer’s personal favorite and it’s great hearing it so fresh and that riff mixed with that voice is heavenly.
“L.A. Girl” and “Distilla Truant” are both great upbeat numbers and the pace doesn’t slow down for a second.
The cover version of the Patti Smith song “Ask the angels” sees Brody makes it her own and what I like about this song is the way Brody approaches the vocal as this song is a bit slower than the ones that come before this shows what a beautiful powerful melodic voice she does possess.
“Oldscratch” is just under a minute of pure punk rock frenzy. “Girlfixer” is another short track that is just over a minute and sees Kim taking the lead vocal while Brody handles the chorus and is a great number. “Open Sky” starts off slow before the band kicks into a high octane thrasher with a great bass solo in the middle.
One of my personal favourites off this album is “Red carpet and rebellion” as I just love the chorus and pounding drums on this track. Saying that its such a strong album the likes of “Colossus U.S.A.” and “Blackheart” are so strong tracks they keep the quality of this album at a high until the end.
“Gypsy rose lee” is just a masterpiece of a song with a beautiful melodic opening before it picks up the pace and this track just has a fantastic melody. The album closes with “The Blackest years” and is a great track to bring this statement of intent to a blistering finish.
All in all this remastered reissue is an essential purchase as it sounds amazing and fresh but doesn’t lose the power of the original.
York based indie rock desperados Hello Operator formed while still at school over a mutual love of Queens Of The Stone Age, The Black Keys and Arctic Monkeys. In the six years since their formation the four-piece band have toured heavily, including appearances at such famed festivals as the Isle Of White and Reading & Leeds fest. Their debut single ‘Stephanie’ was championed by Radio 1’s Greg James and Frank Carter. Following a steady slew of single and EP releases, the band finally unleash their self-titled debut album on an unsuspecting world.
Featuring five past singles that I am aware of, it is no surprise that there is an instant familiarity on first listen. But what I wasn’t prepared for, was how hard these boys rock! Don’t be fooled by the bands indie rock leanings, as I am happy to report ‘Hello Operator’ is a full-blown monster of an album. With fuzzed up guitars, booming bass and pummeling drums that have the combined power to dislodge your spleen from the stomach, the band create a desert rock wasteland for main songwriter and singer Max Dalton to croon over until the cats come home.
Following radio interference and feedback, ‘Decimator’ gets things off to a raucous start. Fuzzy, Josh Homme inspired riffage courtesy of guitarist Peter Greenwood, the powerhouse rhythm section of Sam Dalton (bass) and Eddy Ellison (drums) and Max’s ultra-cool falsetto hook, combine with definite Arctic Monkeys influences to create a beast of an album opener blasting off at 3 minutes and 33 seconds.
Of the already released singles there is much to enjoy. ‘I Created A Monster’ takes a bluesy, Tarantino-esque vibe and runs with it. A cool bass line and solid drums lead us through a tale of creating a lady Frankenstein who lives in a dumpster or something, while Max delivers a cool, memorable chorus and Pete matches the intense rising beats with frantic riffage.
‘King Solomon’ sees the band stomp a heavy leather boot in yer face, with Jack White harmonised guitar lines and a killer chorus refrain. Elsewhere, ‘Reeperbahn’ sees the boys cruise down an 80’s new wave influenced highway. With a driving beat and a killer vocal hook that imbeds in the brain, this is a quality single release. (It’s also worth hunting down the various dance remixes available online that just add to the diversity of this band).
The regimental beats and Liam Gallagher style whine of ‘King Of Ruin’ hits the spot. The alternative 90’s feel at the fore, it comes on like Oasis raging against the machine. Is that a thing? Well, it is now!
But there’s one particular song on this album that stands out from the rest. One song that is the focal point of what this band are truly capable of. When I first heard ‘The Choreographer’, I was blown away. The next two people I played it to had the same reaction. I recently heard someone suggest it would make an ace, alternate Bond theme tune, and I think they hit the nail right on the head.
This song has a cinematic quality for sure. The picked acoustic guitar intro, the subtle strings that build nicely, to the haunting vocal performance that shows a vulnerability to Max’s vocals. Then there’s that unexpected moment when the band kick in that makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. This is a band taking things to a whole new level. It could well be the song of the year. Simply stunning.
The clever arrangements, infectious hooks and glorious guitars keep on coming and keep this listener’s attention. ‘Strangers in The Rain’ and ‘Animalize’ are cool as you like, and album closer ‘I Am Your Bible’ follows a similar cinematic path to ‘The Choreographer’. A dark and foreboding vibe is created as a skulking bassline drives the song. The guitars intertwine as it flows along nicely, before unexpectedly going off on a tangent into some otherworldly Danny Elfman soundscape with jagged guitars and raging drums. Up and down, it takes the listener on a rollercoaster ride of emotions before descending one final time to fade.
In the past they’ve been called feral, ferocious and fucking amazing! Now, with the right management and record label, it seems the time is right for the band to make their move. With strong songwriting, a killer sound and a production job that brings out the best in the boys, Hello Operator have released a debut album that’s up there in the running with anything released this year. It’s the perfect mash of indie vibes and desert rock goodness you never knew you needed in your life. I highly recommend you click the link, buy the digital version for now and hassle the hell outta their record company to release the thing on vinyl in time for Christmas.
It seems to be the common thread in Rock and Roll these days. Either a retrospective is being released or an artist is claiming they had no intention of making a record but circumstances dictated they do so seeing as touring is a no go and all they have is time to think and create. It’s like a silver lining I guess considering the turmoil the world is currently so TV Smith sees himself penning a new album and here we are with ‘Lockdown Holiday’.
Conceived, written, and recorded in lockdown Britain over the Spring and Summer of 2020, “Lockdown Holiday” is TV Smith’s sixteenth album of new songs and marks a career highlight after more than forty years of making music so nobody could accuse TV of taking it easy and having a pandemic break and hibernating until its safe to re-enter venues. When we do He’ll have a whole raft of new material in his armoury. Tim said that when he finished recording ‘The Lucky Ones’ he went straight into the next one and so on such was his energy and drive to get this done.
From his sickbed, Tim watched with utter disbelief as the mismanagement of the situation got worse and worse, and when he started to feel well enough he began the process of what I have here in my hands.
Big chords and heartfelt storytelling. You weren’t expecting a techno album, were you? Intense times breed intense subject matter and some of Smith’s most personal lyrics yet began to pour out of his punished body and some of his finest I might add.
He takes on the Virus and the second wave and extolled his experience on what you need to do to survive this virus. Don’t think Brexit or the US elections get away with it and aren’t too far from Smiths’ thoughts and entwined in all of that would be ‘Fake News’ and with a beaten vocal Smith delivers a really fine lyric.
It’s a collection of songs that can be enjoyed as one sitting, like you’re there with him as he lays down the songs and his feelings unfold and wash over you. There is the usual uplifting feeling of TV Smith and his acoustic guitar. These strange times call for drastic measures and artists to take a chance and do whatever it is they have to do to move on. TV Smith writes songs, TV Smith plays those songs with passion and a sense of DIY and get off one’s backside and keep going. Lockdown Holiday is everything you’d expect it to be it’s not Techno nor is it ballads. It’s the sound of one man and one guitar delivering the goods. Sit back relax and enjoy, I Did.
To be honest I know bugger all about the Mud City Manglers. I picked up their debut album “Heart Full of Hate” a few years ago off of eBay having read about them on Facebook and thought that I’d missed the boat on another great band from the turn of the century but I was wrong…….. they’re back (or perhaps they never went away).
It’s only taken 20 years for these Pittsburgh rock & rollers to release a their second album but was it worth the wait? Hell yeah !!!!
“Give Me The Hammer” drags you into a world of melodic Motorhead via the crunch and choruses of New Bomb Turks and Scumbag Millionaire.
“The Way It’s Gonna Be” and “Hangover Hurricane” have a strong Nashville Pussy vibe, which is no bad thing at all.
“One of These Days” notches up the ferocity. Lyrics are spat out with venom. These sure ain’t love songs. “Better off Dead” dials down the speed but not the attitude. Another tail of desperation and debauchery. Half way through the hell ride, side two kicks into gear with “Bring It Down”. There’s almost a fucked up Sunset Strip feel to this bad boy. Faster Pussycat would have killed for a tune like this back in the day. “ Armstrong Park” doesn’t let up the pace much either, it’s kind of got me thinking of The Throbs but more nasty.
“Cheater Bar” is full on Motorhead or maybe melodic Zeke (if there is such a thing). “One More Mile” is takes you right back to Pussy Town. It’s not only a stand out track on this album but it could’ve been a stand out track on “Let Them Eat Pussy” too. Blain-tastic mate!
“Hammered” is an angry Orgasmatron. An exercise in controlled frustration rolled up in monologue with a message – “Be the motherfucker who is unwilling to play along, be the mother fucker who calls them out on their shit…”
Ten tracks in and “Jump into the Fire” throws it all up in the air with a throbbing bass giving way to a banging riff – the spirit of The Five is alive and well – “we can make each other happy!!!”
So there you go…. the wheel has not been reinvented and nor should it. It’s taken Mud City Manglers twenty years to release “Give Me The Hammer” and it’s a shit load better than “Chinese Democracy”. Go and listen to it on Bandcamp and if you’re feeling flush hop over to Spaghetty Town Records, Ghost Highway Records or Beluga Records a grab a copy before it’s too late.
Give Me The Hammer a listen on band camp whilst the limited orange pressing of 100 sold out instantly on pre-order but the traditional chunk black plastic (limited to 400) is still available from Spaghetty Town Records in the USA along with Ghost Highway Records and Beluga Records in Europe.
It seems to be a thing in 2020 with no live shows to get excited over and everyone everywhere being on lockdown. Some labels have been very busy trawling the archives for material to pull together box sets and nobody has been better at it recently than Cherry Red who have released a plethora of great box sets of the last few months many that we here at RPM have been very happy to get our teeth stuck into. Today we tackle another of the better box sets that which belongs to Mudhoney easily one of the best bands ever to emerge out of the early 90s grunge explosion but those who know are well aware there was so much more going on with Mark Arm and his band of Brothers than being anther Grunge band because they never really fitted into the genre comfortably as much as the media wanted to paint them as just another Sub Pop band they were more closely belonging to the post Stooges garage scene than anything else and their music was so much better than 99% of the other bands coming out of the USA at the time. showcasing Mudhoney’s major label period, 1992-1998.
What we have here is the three albums, some B-sides and live recordings, plus the promotional-only ‘On Tour Now’ live album that the band did during their major label period in the ’90s, 1992-1998 if you want to be precise.
Also includes are rare outtakes and sampler-only tracks. as well as the singles ‘Generation Spokesmodel’, ‘Suck You Dry’, ‘Blinding Sun’, ‘Five Dollar Bob’s Mock Cooter Stew’ and ‘Into Your Shtik’, plus the B-sides. This was also loving put together in conjunction with Mudhoney. and to be fair the Sleevenotes includes new interview material with Mark Arm so a thorough trawl has been made.
Having emerged in 1989 and become a mainstay of the American alternative scene, Mudhoney moved from Sub Pop to Reprise Records and produced three albums during the 1990s for Reprise Records. Whilst not achieving the success enjoyed by the likes of Pearl Jam and Nirvana, the band kept at it and even expanded their live following and always maintained the respect of their peers.
The live promo-only recording is unhinged and shows how damn good Mudhoney was/are live. ‘Suck You Dry’ still sounds fantastic and ‘Piece Of Cake’ was and still is a cracking album. For me I loved ‘My Brother The Cow’ most of all and still consider it their finest album from that head fuck slide of ‘Judgement, Rage, Retribution And Thyme’. The brooding menacing of ‘In My Finest Suit’. The wild ride of ‘F.D.K. (Fearless Doctor Killers)’. Some of the period B sides do leave a lot to be desired and were cutting room floor experiments to amuse the band and probably were better off staying uncovered. ‘Sissy Bar, ‘Carjack 94’ etc are fine examples of a band not taking themselves too seriously. but amongst the rough tracks are the diamonds that need a little spit and shine and songs like ‘Not Going Down That Road Again’ are gems. HArdcore fans and completists will find a lot fo this as much needed nuggets from Arm and co.
‘Tomorrow Hit Today’ is one of those long-overlooked albums but when you have distance and clarity like maybe now, it’s a lot better than I remember. Who knows if the band were tired or had hit a bit of a wall only they know that but songs like ‘I Had To Laugh’ and ‘Poisoned Water’.
Finally, disc 4 sees the first eight-track being commercially available for the first time but taken from the promo ‘On Tour Now’ recorded in Seattle in ’93 at the peak of the band’s powers and rightly so. They were the kings of the scene for me they embraced Garage Rock of the Stooges and MC5 as well as what was current in the alternative rock scene as Grunge they had it all but were perhaps too cool and hip to be regarded as Grunge frontrunners. But those who know, know. Mudhoney fans and people with a hankering for some loud fuzzy Rock get a hold of this box set now. Happy Christmas one and all!
In October 2010 The Damned, The Boys and 999 were booked to play at Zakk in Dusseldorf, Germany. The Damned had to pull out due to an injury to Dave Vanian’s back. But the posters all showed them as playing. There are 3 left in the world of which Duncan Reid is kindly auctioning off to raise funds to help small music venues survive these hard times https://saveourvenues.co.uk/watch/#/
Oh baby if all Rock and Roll band could serve up a good time as effortlessly as The Dirty Stranger the world would be a much nicer place and people would be a lot more chilled the fuck out.
Live from a boozer seems about right for these Artful Dodgers and inside their dirty mac, they come armed with some sawn-off Rock n Roll and yeah, I like it. No change that I love it. It’s like the best night out possible with the booze flowing and the stale cigarette smoke billowing from the corner of yer mouth it’s Rock and Roll Baby. Helping out Alan with some impressive lung power is the excellent Angie Brown with some top vocals to accompany Alans crafty Cockney rasp and cheeky lyrics this is the recording of one hell of a belting night out. It’s fourteen slabs of beer-soaked good times played by people who ooze class and Rock and Roll.
‘Hands Up’ gets the party started. and the good times just lap over you like a tidal wave of Sweet soul music. ‘Saturday Night’ kicks it on down the line and Ruts Paul Fox slings the guitar like a rabid dog. There’s even time for a blistering romp through ‘Something That I Said’.
To be fail its a white knuckle ride on the Rock and Roll roller coaster where you think the band is flying by the seat of their well-worn pants but the truth is they can dish this up in their sleep such is the Rock n Roll blood coursing through their veins. ‘Have To Do Better’ is a belter and Scotty Mulvey tinkles those ivories like a demon adding some wonderful colour to proceedings.
There’s even time to take it down a notch for all the lovers out there who want a slow dance as ‘Diamonds’ cuts a fine figure of a song. I don’t know how they only just found the tapes from ’88 maybe they were in the glove box of that Ford Cortina Alan used to get outta dodge after the show. Worth it just for them bashing out ‘Shepperd’s Bush City Limits’ I’m left scratching my head wondering why there aren’t more bands this good at cutting it loose like The Dirty Strangers. Good on em and if they come to a town near you post lockdown and you want a pick me up and an evening full of top tunes then these are your band even if they do mention the ‘Rs.
One of the finest purveyors of Garage Rock n Roll are The Cavemen, that’s not even up for debate – No sir. Here they are with the title track of their brand new EP out now on Slovenly Recordings. Bandcamp
If you’re after something a little less in yer face we bring the brand new video from the excellent Posies from their forthcoming album ladies & Gents ‘Sideways’
Finally, after Johnny reviewed his latest album in the week we wanted to bring you the new video from Henrik Palm.
Rich Ragany ‘From Nowhere To You’ Rich Ragany (of Rich Ragany And The Digressions, Role Models, and Loyalties) has released a charity single… All proceeds from the single will be going to The Brain Tumour Foundation Of Canada… in his recently departed brother George Ragany’s name… The link to purchase the single is Here
“George always seemed to know-how and taught me how to try and get the best out of dark and sad times… so this is my attempt… It was written in isolation after flying from the UK to Canada and getting the news he passed while I was in the air… didn’t make it to be by his side… and that is a heartbreaking fact… but hope this is a fitting tribute to his spirit and memory…. a song about love and trying to reach out against odds. I hope you can take it for yourself.”
It was recorded with the help of his old friend… Reed Shimozawa (formerly of Canadian rockers Zuckerbaby and also co-wrote and recorded the album ‘TKO’ with Todd Kerns of Slash and The Conspirators) … he played on and produced it the single. Reed as he is a talented guy who has done some cool stuff… couldn’t have done it without him
Here’s a quick singles club rundown to celebrate America waking the fuck up and Biden getting the job done. First up is the brand new video offering from those crazy mysterious kids The Network.
Black Spiders – ‘Fly In The Ointment’ (Self Release) Black Spiders are back kids and they’re coming with a bit of a bang and a riff-laden banger entitled ‘Fly In The Ointment’. It’s the first new music from the northern Rockers in Six years and it’s a pretty impressive call to arms to be fair. Welcome back we’ve missed you!
Max Motherfucker – ‘Natural Thing’ (Self Release) After 10 years of playing loud and snotty punk Max always wanted to do some heavy Rock n Roll music. He mooted the idea for many years and that day has arrived!
The lyrics to the songs are more personal and less negative than at his day job with Christmas. Max said he just needed a great guitar player with some overwhelming riffs! so he called Johnny Cobra who he’d known for over a decade and he jumped on board. On the drums is Cladymirko, the drummer of Christmas from 2018 till 2020. The bass duties are courtesy of Michel Wern. He also produced the record. I love Christmas and the attitude they exude but this is something altogether different for Max and a really impressive solo record. Fresh sounding and big riffs you’d be daft not to get involved. If you thought the A-side was a fluke wait till you get a load of the flip. ‘Are We Alive’ is better than anything Turbonegro has recorded in donkey’s years Buy it! Record of the week with Civic. Pick it up here but be quick it’s very limited!
Subliminal Landmines – ‘Wheres My Coke?’ (Independent) The first video from their LP ‘Gibberish’ for these lafayette punks. they lean heavily on mid period Green Day so much so that they cover ‘Brain Stew’ on the album.
Civic – ‘Radiant Eye’ (Flightless Records) I fuckin’ love everything I’ve heard from Civic (which might not be a lot but what I have heard I’ve loved). Outta Melbourne these cats just kick up a shit storm every time.
A no-nonsense rocker ‘Radiant Eye’ kicks up a heap of garage rock dust with the spirit of the Stooges running through their veins it’s a no-brainer for any lover of guitar Rock and Roll. Flip it over and there’s a pretty smart take on ‘Making Time’ by the Creations that up there with Stiv Bator and The Lords cover, so they’re in great company. They’ve got the Rock and the Roll and just Get it. My advice, buy the damn thing – Here
Come At The King – ‘In My Place’ (self Release) A decent tune from Come At The King taken from their soon to be released EP. They mix up a bit of indie with some loud guitar music and ‘In My Place’ is a very decent representation of their overall sound. There’s some heavy rock in there for sure but they clearly have an ear for some Oasis stylings as well and can turn in a decent melody to boot.
With a new EP on the horizon, this is just a taster for what’s to come.
THE KIDS – ‘Go Back To Canberra’ (Riot Records) Street punks The Kids playing grown-up big boys punk rock like Argy Bargy jamming on ‘No Sleep Til Brooklyn’ by The Beastie Boys. As a good cardio workout, GBTC is in yer grill up for the rumble. All four are 17 years old and already are knocking out tunes to go toe to toe with the big boy’s Sydney Australia you have a real contender.
Radio Rejects – ‘Monsters’ (Riot Records) More street punk from Riot Records Band Radio Rejects. ‘Monster’ is food and drink to street punks with big riffs and gang vocals. This NSW band says The song focuses on the long term effects bullying can cause, and as in a lot of cases, the people you consider to be “Monsters” were made over the years of being treated like garbage. So it reflects the subject matter in the song. Facebook