To emphasise further the banality of the current lockdown we’re resurfacing from here in England, it only feels like 10 days or so since I did my November list for Bandcamp Friday. Either way here we are yet again with new music from artists and money potentially burning holes in pockets.
Swan Wash – The Upstairs Museum
The latest EP from Indiana’s Swan Wash. A classic Post Punk affair, stark in sound and lyrics with a Goth/Deathrock aura. The tracks hover
somewhere between original Christian Death and the reserved punk approach of Wire.
The Brisbane quartet offer up this slab of meat and potatoes Glam Punk. They certainly aren’t reinventing the wheel with this new single but it’s catchy all the same, with a new album set to be dropped early next year hopefully it’s as strong as the previous.
As the titles on the release may suggest, the sounds on the tracks are night and day from each other. The A-side being very organ heavy, gloomy in atmosphere with vocals being equidistant from Kim Gordon and Siouxie Sioux. The B in contrast is a Lo-Fi Pop gem. Think if you can of a ‘valley girl’ Pavement.
The debut self titled EP from Brooklyn’s Bipolar, a beautifully shambolic mess of heavy guitars and subtle synths sounding not a million miles from exit_international or in the slightly less intense bits, Slaves.
Here we have doomy Liverpool noise merchants Ohmns with a stunning offering of blaring proto punk goodness. The track was originally a part of a limited edition cassette release earlier this year which has since sold out but the lads have kindly resurrected the track for you all to download at the generous cost of ‘name your price’.. fill yer boots.
We’ve also got plenty more recommendations for you starting with Ben who suggests you good people check out Dangereens. The band hail from Montreal in Canada and they play Rock and Roll. Their album slipped under our radar earlier this year entitled ‘Tough Luck’ and Bens right on the money and this is a band you should check out if Hanoi Rocks meets some good time Faces style boogie woogie is your thing then you need to hear these.
If that didn’t float your boat how about some sleazy low down dirty punk rock and roll courtesy of Jonas Hillbom & The Wildbeards from Stockholm, Sweden. With some singles on offer, these rockers kick out the jams and were brought to our attention by the finely tunes ears of Fraser.
How about some Italian garage rock and roll? The strangely named Pre-Cog In The bunker has a sleazy slice of Garage available for all you purists. It’s straight out of the one-take Cramps school of Rock and Roll. They have this rather nice 7″ available on Bandcamp for you to take advantage of. And you get a couple of bonus cuts that are digital-only thrown in for good measure. ‘On The Run’ is straight out of the VU pocket and a rather splendid track to be fair. Hit em up here
Whilst it’s Bandcamp Friday it would be downright wrong of us not to push on you good people some Deathtraps Lets fall out of love with the world as the clusterfuck that is 2020 can be made a lot smoother with some dirty grubby action rock and roll. They don’t really want to kill the cool kids (at least we don’t think they do) and they have album number four to finance so chuck em a sheckle or two it’ll be worth it because they’re bloody good and you’ll get some quality choons in return.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of debut album ‘Racey Roller’, everyone’s favourite boot boy Glam riff-mongers, Giuda, are releasing a limited edition box set of 3×7” singles. These six tracks include demos from their first recording session, plus an oddity from French fans; ‘Giuda We Love You’.
Original drummer/producer Danilo Silvestri has compiled the notes for the 12-page booklet, detailing each session to explain the different line ups and the minutiae of their history. This is very much for the serious Giuda-head; at the time of writing, there’s no price listed, but it also includes a postcard, membership card and a silkscreened aluminium 45 adapter, hand crafted by Lorenzo’s dad, Renato. So, I can only imagine it won’t be cheap. But, you certainly get attention to detail for your cash.
You’ll already know ‘Racey Roller’, ‘Back Home’, ‘Tartan Pants’ and ‘Speak Louder’, which seemed fully-formed at demo stage. ‘Look Over Your Shoulder’ is an album outtake, which is as strong as anything else, so I guess they ran out of time/space. The aforementioned ‘Giuda We Love You’ is a sweet natured thank you from some French fans, in a Shang-a-lang style.
Lovingly compiled and created, not for the occasional listener, but an interesting document of Giuda’s roots.
This year has been a downright catastrophe with the pandemic stopping live music and seeing us in lockdowns which have stopped us from seeing family and friends and indeed our favourite artists.
Back in march, Billie Joe Armstrong set out to brighten things up a bit with the Green Day frontman putting out cover versions of songs he loved via the Green Day Youtube channel.
I personally loved this as it was something to look forward to each week and lighten the mood in these dark times.
So what we have here is a release of these songs as a physical document of these timeless tunes Billie decided to put his own spin on.
The album starts off with “I think we’re alone now” by “Tommy James and the Shondells” and in fairness, it’s a great version given the power-pop treatment.
Next up we have “War stories” and this is another tune I really enjoyed and I can’t recollect hearing the original by the group Starjet.
“Manic Monday” is a song that I would be very surprised if anybody had not heard before as the original by the bangles has to be one of the most played songs on the radio. Billy does a great version here with him taking the track in a much more guitar orientated direction and the track sounds all the better for it, we are even treated to a guest appearance by Susanna Hoffs of the bangles.
“Corpus Christi” “That thing you do” and “Amico” are enjoyable tracks and keeps the album going nicely.
“You can’t put your arm around a memory” is a track that this reviewer holds very close to his heart as the original by the one and only legend that is “Johnny Thunders” is a true classic in every sense of the word and in fairness to Billie he does a cracking version of a timeless tune.
“Kids in America” is another tune that will be very familiar to listeners as the original by Kim Wilde is still played on the radio a lot to this day and Billie again turns his guitar up and turns this pop classic into a power-pop gem.
“Not that way anymore” is another song this reviewer holds in high esteem as the original was written by Stiv Bators and Frank Secich and is one of my all-time favourite tunes and Billie yet again delivers with a great version that he puts his own unique stamp on.
“That’s Rock ’N’ Roll” is one of the songs that on first listen I thought I’ve heard this before but couldn’t for the life of me think who the original was done by. After some research, it was done by Shaun Cassidy and is a tune that I will definitely play more of.
“Police on my back” originally done by the Equals and covered by punk legends The Clash is a stunning track that Bille does a faithful rendition of.
Bringing this album to a close is “A New England” and like all the way through this album, Billie puts his heart and soul into it and the album finishes on a high.
Billie Joe Armstrong doesn’t know how to deliver a sub-par project and this is another stunning release from the Green day frontman that will give the listener much enjoyment.
It’s less than 12 months since Tensheds released their 4th album ‘Deathrow Disco’, yet December 2019 might seem like a lifetime ago now. Let’s head back to the start of this chaotic year in March, where main man Matt Millership found himself in isolation, an extensive tour cancelled, and no way to promote his music.
He, like many other musicians and artists, adapted to the situation, found ways to create and get an outlet to his fanbase. He performed a Livestream that was successful, and though apprehensive at first, Matt embraced this new format and the following live sessions grew into a regular event affectionately entitled ‘The Punk Palace Sessions’. Matt promised to write and perform a new song every week, he delivered, and the outcome of these sessions are this new solo album, ‘The Days Of My Confinement’, written and recorded entirely in isolation.
Not surprisingly, ‘The Days Of My Confinement’ is the antithesis of ‘Deathrow Disco’. While that last album, funnily enough, deals with its own themes of isolation, musically it is a gritty, alternative beast full of heavy beats and gravelly vocals. ‘The Days Of My Confinement’ is more of a celebration of the piano, and showcases the songwriter’s classic training, and is therefore a much more somber and subdued affair. Working within the confines of his home studio, Matt creates drama and certain moods that he probably would not have managed if the world was a different place during the recording.
There is a certain intimacy to the performance here. These haunting piano sermons are songs stripped bare to the bone, the songwriter bearing his inner soul for all to digest. Opener ‘Ticking Clocks’ sets the scene perfectly as Matt’s tinkling of the ivories contrasts with raspy vocals, before a bass drum beat and layered piano runs take the listener to another plane.
Matt’s classical training lends him well throughout, the clever song structures help pique the interest as each song has a certain ebb and flow. On ‘The Bridge Song’, the strong vocal performance and subdued verse lead this listener into a false sense of security, before stabs of piano chords take me by surprise. To me, it sounds like it was recorded in a church, the piano player being observed by a silent congregation as he plays his heart out. It’s both emotive and dramatic in equal measures.
Elsewhere, the first single ‘Mirrors’ is as epic as it gets, the sweeping chorus as grandiose as its counterpart verse is timid. ‘Hell Is In The Water’ has a fuller band sound that sees Matt explore and incorporate more instruments, he takes us to church on this sermon with handclaps and fuzzy stabs of guitar. On ‘Cotton Wool World’ the delicacy of the delivery is fascinating, Matt’s raw, gravelly tones almost breaking over a piano melody that is dancing on a razor’s edge.
The confines that were forced upon him and the goals that he set himself have worked in his favour, and Matt Millership has created an album that is as majestic as it is stark and chilling. This is not an upbeat or even a happy album, but we are not in happy times and in that way, it seems quite fitting. If you’re a fan of Tom Waits, if you love the echoey, reverb drenched feel of Springsteen’s ‘Nebraska’, or have been enraptured by Nick Cave’s recent ‘Idiot Prayer’ performance, then you could do no wrong getting Tensheds new album in your creepy little mitts for Christmas.
Nothing more heartening than on a cold dark Saturday night during a lockdown I sit down and begin typing my review of this rather sparse yet majestic J Mascis box set being released by Cherry Red Records. In fairness over the last few months, it seems a lot of bands are holding back on new material seeing as they aren’t able to trawl the towns and cities of the world promoting their new wares so its ripe pickings recently for the box set after box set of unreleased material or previously released material and hard to find stuff getting a new lick of paint and packaging and being re-released.
Now some companies just knock out reissues on heavyweight vinyl for the audiophiles out there and then there are some labels who actually excel in this field and release some rather nice box sets full of material both previously and not previously released and right at the top of that list has to be Cherry Red. To be fair they also have knocked out some really decent sets this year coving several genres.
Dinosaur Jr had their classic albums re-packaged a while ago with a plethora of bonus material that added up to some pretty impressive reissues and now it seems the turn of the creator in general J Mascis to release some of his live recordings. Starting with 3 CDs of solo acoustic musings. 93s live at the iconic CBGBs. Martin & Me’ that came out in 95. Then finally a live in Copenhagen recorded in 98.
CBGBs is where Mascis tugs on the heartstrings with a spine-tingling set of acoustic renditions of classic Dinosaur JR tunes with the likes of ‘Thumb’, ‘Keeblin’ and covers of ‘On The Run’ as he strums and picks his way through the set even remembering to talk in between songs it’s a glorious mishmash of songs stripped bare.
‘Martin & Me’ is a much clearer set with some of the same songs but a longer set that includes some rather interesting covers like who knew he’d cover ‘The Boy With The Thorn In His Side’ but its the emotional renditions of songs like ‘Goin Home’ that steals the show and makes the hair on my arms stand up as I type and listen. Ending the set this time with ‘Grab It’.
The third disc is of varying quality and probably my favourite of the three with awesome renditions of ‘Sure Not Over You’, ‘Little Fury Things’, ‘Drawerings’ and ‘Keep The Glove’. Fans will be all over this (sorry) and if you want to hear rough acoustic alternative rock at its finest drawing from the likes of Neil Young and churning out stripped back picking styles from a genuine guitar hero and songwriter.
Don’t think about it go pick up a copy and like I say if you’re already sold on his solo work or Dinosaur Jr then this is a no brainer.
UK rockers, STEVIE R. PEARCE AND THE HOOLIGANS, have released a music video for ‘LUNATICS BY THE POOL‘, it’s the second single taken from their second studio album “MAJOR LEAGUE SON OF A BITCH”, which will be released through HEAVY ROCKA worldwide next year.
Stevie R. Pearce says: “I always write with an element of truth.. Its all true, each verse tells a different story that all in some way are related to a pool that happened to me.. During a trip to Bangkok last year I witnessed some let’s say “Brits Abroad” discussing their stories of woe.. which were kind of similar to mine…perhaps slights more elaborate.. then it got me thinking about other times in my life where trouble had occurred by a pool… Thus Verse 2- Which is A Warrior Soul incident and verse 3- A day strip Club in Tucson, Arizona during a day off debacle. Alot of the new album has certain depths.. I’ve gone a bit further with it.. However, Lunatics is an 18-30s lads trip to Kavos and just as tacky and we do that very well. The video HAD to be by a pool.. Jason Miller shot it and we had a blast for a day.. Mainly I was happy no-one drowned- but it wasn’t for lack of trying.”