Been waiting a long time to reacquaint myself with a Jesse Malin live show. Throughout the pandemic, I tried watching various broadcasts and live streams but, not one single effort caught my imagination and made me set a reminder to tune in except for one; ‘The Fine Art Of Social Distancing’ Jesse Malin is someone who has always been on my musical radar from the moment in the 90s his band D Generation managed to save the decade with their punk rock n roll and when they broke up I went to New York in search of Bellvue and then Jesse went solo and I just couldn’t get enough of it from the 169 EP to the present pandemic Malin seemed to cut through whatever genre he chose I was on board.
I find myself easing back into live surroundings and having taken in a few over the last few weeks I ventured into the Fleece with a minute to spare before the excellent Kris Gruen (sure yes he the son of Bob) I mean if Bob Gruen was my dad I’d be telling everyone and sundry but he didn’t drop that Clang! until well in the set.
Kris was stripped down to just his voice and an acoustic guitar and to be fair it’s an impressive voice to begin with as he regaled us with songs from his new album as well as a couple of choice covers. You could have heard a pin drop throughout his set as he went about his business. Sure it was a soulful blend of countrified rock and roll but his take on ‘Bankrobber’ was majestic but his interpretation of the Thunders classic ‘Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory’ won me over. Haunting and memorable as he took ownership in a way I’m sure Thunders would have approved of. Warm-up or opening act call it what you will Kris Gruen won over a few new fans tonight in Bristol for his style and quality of craft just what the doctor ordered.
Onto Malin and his Guitar, Bass, Drums, and a piano band that was geared up to race through his repertoire picking up a song from here and there like a Magpie fluttering over the shiny songs like pieces of gold and silver and buffing off any cobwebs that might have gathered over the past eighteen months of being left in the box.
With a stunning new album in tow Malin slotted in songs like the blissful ‘Shining Down’ alongside classics like ‘Downliner’ and ‘Wendy’ but its more than that Malin engages with his audience like its a private gathering and only you and his band in the room regaling us with stories he’s gathered on his travels about his songs and the journey he and these tunes have been on. Opening the set with ‘The Way We Used To Roll’ from the new album and then hitting ‘Backstabbers’ another new one before dopping the earworm that is ‘Downliner’ and then back into the new album with ‘Before You Go’. Already there was a sense that this was going to be something special and sending out three new songs in the set so early was brave but it’s exactly what we needed and the energy pouring off the stage was huge.
I’m not sure the mains needed turning up but the standout track from ‘New York Before The War’ was a stomper before the shimmering ‘Room 13’ gave us some respite before a top rendition of The Pogues classic ‘Fall From Grace With God’ enabled everyone in the room to get loose and get up to speed because live shows are back baby and seeing Malin move through the audience looking for a bar or vantage point to climb was a beautiful thing. I love the new record and the Blondie Noo Yawk disco beat of ‘A Little Death’ fitted in nicely showing another side of Jesse’s songwriting masterclass.
To be fair before we hit the encore Malin had given up seven new songs throughout the set and whilst I could go on he didn’t play this or that and nothing from ‘The Heat’ and only a pair off the debut solo album it was one of “Those” nights where everything seemed to be perfect and whilst it looked effortless and the band just hit their groove I’m sure it isn’t quite that easy. It seemed apt that Jesse offered up his version of ‘Sway’ to Charlie Watts it was his parting shot of the excellent hymn for travellers from his new album ‘St Christopher’ seemed to have always been in the set and with Kris Gruen joining for some team spirit and vocal aid it was the parting gift of The Clash classic ‘Rudie Can’t Fail’ that sent us off into the cold Bristol night knowing we’d just seen a fantastic set from a unique talent and one of the best songwriters out there.
You can get so far with a little PMA and a pocketful of dreams but you still need the tunes and Jesse Malin has got a whole fuckin’ suitcase full of em and more the only regret was he didn’t have some Noo Yawk saxophone with him now that would have been something, maybe next time, please. Hopefully, with a little PMA, it won’t be so long before we can do this all over again. I can’t remember almost two hours of live music passing so quickly and leaving me wanting more. Just what live shows should do. Brilliant simply brilliant.
Author: Dom Daley
Sad And Beautiful World Review Here
Rock n Roll doesn’t have to be groundbreaking nor does it have to be complicated. Sometimes it can be a cathartic experience to hear a pair of purists just writing beautiful pop songs and having the skill and craft to articulate that through primarily bass, drums, and vocals. Ladies & Gentlemen I give you The Fabulous Courettes starring Flavia & Martin Couri.
Sure it’s steeped in 60s pop and the look is retro but the production is here and now and this sound is timeless. ‘Want You Like A Cigarette’ and ‘I Can Hardly Wait’ might open up this latest offering but I’m in love with ‘Hey Boy’ and its backbeat and lush vocals it’s supreme retro Rock and Roll for sure but, it’s always a blast to hear it done this well.
The speakers rattles as ‘R.I.N.G.O’ pays tribute to..Mr Starkey of course. with a cheeky grin and a slink of the snake hips, this is a hoot. These cats really do understand their roots and have got the chops to pull it off without the faintest hint of irony or cabaret. Sure it sounds like you’ve heard it all before but who cares this doo wap retro garage vibe is killer and The Courettes are on top of their game and they know it. Damaged goods don’t sign rubbish and like a seal of approval they’ve reissued the band’s first two records as well such is the faith in this band.
C’mon, how damn good is ‘Trash Can Honey’? Coming on like a drug-free Cramps it’s got to put a smile on the listener’s face. Then bring in the Garagetastic ‘Hop The Twig’, whatever the fuck that is I want to give it a try like right now.
Fourteen songs are flying by and the variety is great. ‘Misfits & Freaks’ is excellent with so much texture coming out of the pair whilst it’s not the Spector wall of fuzz it’s tempered and just enough dirt is let in making for a great sound and the spooktacular keyboard solo is a blast! Before they bow out they really turn up the fuzz on the excellent ‘Edge Of My Nerves’ but wait you knew it was coming – The finale is ‘Cry Cry Cry’ and a mirror ball dance-off is ushered in and the indisputable winner of the rosette for the 60s influenced garage rock and roll goes to The Courettes who deliver an epic and comforting sound that is absolutely nailed on as the best in its field for 2021. Now grab your partner and shake those snake hips one more time take it away Flavia & Martin.
Author: Dom Daley
Written and recorded during the lost year of 2020, through times of fear, anxiety and isolation, to a background of sirens, street protests and impending doom, ‘Sad And Beautiful World’ is Jesse Malin’s 9th studio album. A follow up to the 2019 critically acclaimed album ‘Sunset Kids’, this 17-track double album was recorded sporadically by Jesse in his native New York at Flux Studios, with his touring band of 10 plus years, in-between weekly livestream shows from The Bowery.
‘Sad And Beautiful World’ is a double album spilt into two halves. First, we have the more mellow ‘roots rock’ of disc/record 1, followed by the slightly more upbeat ‘radical’ disc/record 2. Jesse is a troubadour who sings songs and tells stories about what he knows and what he experiences, and this album is not so much a Covid record, as an observation of feelings, fears and searching for redemption. Overall, it comes across as a record filled with hope in troubled times.
From the laid-back Americana of opener ‘Greener Pastures’ to the closing celebratory and euphoric ‘Saint Christopher’, out illustrious host takes us on a journey, a trip through his mind if you will.
To be honest the themes of the two records blur into one with not much to distinguish between roots and radical, and while this whole double album would fit snugly on one CD (like record companies insisted sometime in the 90’s), Jesse is old school and releases albums like his heroes, so we’ll go with the double album format. The single ‘State Of The Art’ for example is as upbeat as you like, it hits like a statement of intent, from that piano intro to the killer, familiar pop melody that builds to a classic Malin chorus, it’s up there with Billy Joel and Springsteen as far as I’m concerned, and don’t take that statement lightly.
If you’re a fan, you will probably be aware of several of these tunes already, as there have been quite a few singles in the past 12 months. From the retrospective ‘The Way We Used To Roll’ to the Lou Reed groove of ‘Backstabbers’, onto the heartfelt, rootsy balladry of ‘Tall Black Horses’, they all showcase the diversity and depth of a singer/songwriter at the top of his game.
For me, there were two songs that stood out from the crowd in the lead-up to the release, and after a dozen play-throughs of this album they still come out trumps. ‘Todd Youth’ is a gloriously heartfelt tribute to a fallen friend, featuring pumping NYC street bass, handclaps, and HR from Bad Brains. The juxtaposition of sad subject matter and an upbeat, radio-friendly melody makes for a tune that imbeds itself deep in the soul. Jesse also pays tribute to another fallen hero/influence by covering Tom Petty’s ‘Crawling Back To You’, a lesser-known but highly sentimental trip from his 1994 solo album ‘Wildflowers’. The bare-bones recording with acoustics, piano, and that unmistakable Malin NY drawl, its melancholic, starkly beautiful, and as much an album highlight here as the original was in its initial release.
Come to think of it, the ghost of Tom Petty rears his head throughout ‘Sad And Beautiful World’. The country twang and heartfelt feel of ‘Lost Forever’ is as Tom Petty as you can get. But there’s also nods to another icon David Bowie in his 80’s heyday on the likes of ‘Before You Go’ and ‘A Little Death’. Sometimes it’s just in the bassline or the way he phrases certain things, just listen and you’ll hear it, trust me.
For me, ‘Sad And Beautiful World’ harks back to Jesse’s debut album ‘The Fine Art Of Self Destruction’ that came out nearly 20 years ago. The mark of a great songwriter is the ability to take you on a lyrical and melodic journey, and the fact that Jesse still has the power to create emotional works of art filled with hope, optimism and heartbreak in equal measures is a testament to his years on the road and his ability to express and keep it real. An essential purchase for all you rastas, as Jesse would say.
Author: Ben Hughes
The Cutthroat Brothers & Mike Watt – “Been Away” Hound Gawd! Records.
The preorder is Here
from their number one record.
finally what about some Humanists featuring Rides Mark Gardener. Taken from Humanist’s eponymous debut album out now. Buy on CD / LP / Digital: https://humanist.lnk.to/humanistID
Humanist live dates 2021:
OCT 19 – Birmingham, United Kingdom
OCT 20 – Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom
OCT 21 – Glasgow, United Kingdom
OCT 22 – Sheffield, United Kingdom
OCT 23 – Manchester, United Kingdom
OCT 25 – Brighton, United Kingdom
OCT 26 – London, United Kingdom
Get tickets from: https://humanist.lnk.to/liveID
Humanist is the Music of Rob Marshall featuring the vocals of Mark Lanegan (Queens Of The Stone Age), Dave Gahan (Depeche Mode), Mark Gardener (Ride), Carl Hancock Rux (David Holmes, Portishead), John Robb (The Membranes), Joel Cadbury (UNKLE), Ilse Maria, Ron Sexsmith and Jim Jones (The Jim Jones Revue, Thee Hypnotics).
‘Coffin Face’ is album number three from UK psychedelic garage punks Table Scraps and its one that comes hot on the heels of their track ‘Motorcycle (Straight To Hell)’ (from their debut album ‘More Time For Strangers’) having been brought to the attention of a potentially whole new audience by Monster Magnet’s excellent lockdown released covers album ‘A Better Dystopia’.
I mention this from the get go simply because whilst both bands might – on paper at least – seem worlds apart, when you do actually dip your toe into the acid-tinged waters of ‘Coffin Face’ musical genres do start to merge and ultimately become totally irrelevant.
I mean great music is great music, right?
The ten tracks that make up this record were written and recorded before, during and after the ongoing global pandemic and via the likes of ‘Judas Christ’, the overdriven Zeppelin throb of ‘Doom Generation’ and the B-Movie magic of ‘Never Liked It Anyway’ we are taken us back to a time when they were selling hippy wigs in Woolworths and the end of a whole musical ideology was but one tragic festival death away from becoming a reality.
Originally conceived as a (cough) “concept” album back in 2018, where a band emerges from the rubble of a post-apocalyptic event, the world events of the past 18 months made the songs that make up ‘Coffin Face’ less of a loosely themed concept and more a reality for the band, who this time around wanted to take themselves to a whole new level.
Adding third member TJ Mobbs on bass guitar, electric piano and synth certainly helped broaden their musical horizon around the time of their second album ‘Autonomy’, but here it’s the fantastic doubled vocals of drummer Poppy Twist and guitarist Scott Vincent Abbott that have never sounded so hypnotic, especially on the double time proto-punk rattle of opener ‘Threads’ (which surely must also take a lead from the 1984 post-apocalyptic TV drama of the same name). It’s when ‘Big Man’ steps out of the speakers sounding just like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club have opened up an earthier Birmingham chapter that I can fully understand why the band say that recording Coffin Face’ has either kept them sane or sent them totally insane, such are the multiple musical personality changes being played out within the album’s half hour, which to their credit is something the band does without ever losing their focus on simply recording a great record.
Take ‘You Only Wanna Get High’ for example, this is a track that could have featured in a Matt Helm movie whilst ‘God Of The Rainbow’ has an almost second summer of love shoegaze vibe going on and then there’s the glorious swoon of album closer ‘Heartache’ which just makes me flip the record over and play it all again.
I’ve not stopped playing ‘Coffin Face’ since the slime coloured vinyl first dropped on my turntable a few days ago and I can see it staying there for some time yet, such is the strength of the songs on show here. For those who don’t like vinyl (shame on you) the album also comes on CD and download and is available in a variety of different bundle options via the band’s Bandcamp page.
Brothers and sisters, free your minds and give your aural taste buds a refresher in great music by simply clicking the link below. You can thank RPM later!
Author: Johnny Hayward
Holy shit! It’s been way too long since I stood in a room with these reprobates knocking out loud filthy anthems for the more discernable music lovers amongst us. But Saturday the 3rd of October with enough people doing the right thing this event was going to happen and boy did it.
Bournemouth’s The Electric Shakes opened proceedings with a most enjoyable set of rapid bad boy boogie and tinged with enough Garage rock n Roll to shake off any long overdue cobwebs it was a pleasure to hear a trio knock out tight tunes with songs like the excellent ‘Hound Dog’ riff-a-rama grinding away at your eardrum these gentlemen are well worth checking out and are a fantastic opener on tonight’s triple bill.
Next up were the local boy’s Deathtraps who had a whole bunch of new tunes to air from their Argos book of tunage. To be fair the new ones were instant toe-tappers and slotted in very nicely alongside the more well-worn numbers from their previous recordings and on the strength of tonight’s performance, I think fans old and new will be in for a treat when the new record gets released. The band sounds tight and the dual vocal attack works really well to add texture to their sound.
All you can ask for is that your favourite bands make every album better than the previous one before they inevitably break up or come to a messy end. Deathtraps have tunes kids and are carving out a style of their own by fusing the best parts of the ones that influence who and what they are. Rumours of an encore of ‘Tears Are Falling’ Newport style were sadly unfounded but they did leave the stage to beaming smiles and very warm applause from the discernable audience. they did kick off proceedings with an excellent new song ‘Red Eye’ and peppered their set with new songs ‘Rip Em Off’ and the set closer ending on a real high ‘Never Had It So Good’ and to be fair it summed up the moment as lockdowns (fingers crossed are a thing of the past) and people get more comfortable with getting out and about with friends and fellow gig goers and its a pleasure seeing beaming smiles all over the venue as the bands entertain and blow off any cobwebs that might have gathered. Deathtraps left us wanting more – great set (and more of that cowbell, please).
Onto the main course and Nottinghams finest The Hip Priests who have managed to not lose anyone through lockdowns and had enough pent up aggression to fuel five bands let alone one. Never mind fuel crisis either because they could have got across country on the fumes of hatred for where we currently sit with Brexit and a continuation of tory lies and bullshit being the catalyst for some of the bands best most recent songs.
As always von Cruz was moving between guitar swings like he’s some fluid airbender punching and kicking his way through some classic Priests songs that seemed to get louder and louder as the set developed and the bookend duel guitar maestros of Ben and Austin compressed the energy and absolutely slaughtered Le Pub. There were no signs of rust or the fact they’d not been doing this for so long it was as if they’ve been energised by the layoff and kicked the living shit out of the set as Priests classics from opening with the appropriate ‘Survival Of The Shittest’ then ripping headfirst into the latest albums title track ‘Stand For Nothing’ it was obvious the kings of Garage punk were on fire.
New track ‘Tiger In My Tank’ sounded fantastic and wedged between the epic ‘Zero Fucks Given’ and their thirtieth single ‘No Stranger To Failure’ was simply sublime and the band were hitting the groove lots of us know they’re capable of. At times it seems effortless but the evening was moving through the gears and tonight the Hip Priests were simple on fire. There were a few classic Priests track omitted from the set and an excellent flow to proceedings, sure ‘Jesus Died’ was played as was ‘Mother Fucker Superior’ and ending the evening with a sonic flying kick to the temple with ‘Juiced Up’ was nice.
Still the champions of shit Island and still the best noisiest band in the underground, I know it, they know it and you know it but how long can they be our secret. Post pandemic wish list is for these bastards to break out and show everyone how it’s done. Fast, Loud, filthy and most definitely rocking. Nobody does it quite like the Hip Priests – Maybe not so young but definitely loud and always snotty! I fuckin’ love the Hip Priests and it’s great to be back! Newport as always delivered, see you next time.
Author: Dom Daley (spasm Gang member #3)
15 years of misanthropy, noise, confusion, hate, and contempt. Join the celebrations/commiserations on Saturday 4th December at Fiddler’s Elbow – Camden with FLASH HOUSE, Seven Days and Doesn’t Die and Continental Lovers.
Saturday, December 11th and you’re all invited (obvs) Bring the Xmas cheers and Liquid Light Brew Co Tap Room will bring the beers.
Under the Volcano kicks off in style with the chaotic ‘Sublime Architect Of Death’ banging on like a spastic blur of the best of Mark E Smith and his Fall and a bit of Gun Club for good measure. Hey, even a hint of Idles here and there if you’re looking for genres and reference buddies.
Shit, ‘King Of Rock and Roll’ kicks off with a throbbing unravelling bassline decaying with overdrive before the abrasive guitars kick in. Vistic is on fire as he preaches his sermon in front of a wall of vicious guitars colliding with the rhythm section setting off shards of glass-like spears into your ear and burrowing through your head making for uncomfortable sounds but pleasing and addictive drops of raw garage Rock and Roll.
‘Psycho Death Cult’ is like early hypnotic Gallon Drunk mixing it with eldrich or even some extreme garage punk rock Depeche Mode. hunter, gatherer this is primal screaming alright all the way to the chanted chorus. A most excellent start to the record.
‘Its Nature’ is almost tame in comparison – a more gentle Rocker with a pop melody trying to break through as we head towards the chorus which pokes you in the temple demanding your attention and bloody well getting it. Excellent track almost Bowie-like in places. ‘Louts’ is a twisted electronic pop song with distant drums and super fuzzed-up guitar. ‘I Am The Shadow’ is like a long lost classic Pete Murphy – Bauhaus number, it builds to a twisted crescendo with a wah wah static solo – at times it feels claustrophobic and your gulping for air but the music pulls you about like a rag doll and I like it, I like it a lot!
‘Heart In Danger’ builds with a hypnotic drum beat over a raw repetitive guitar rip before a stabbing jarring lyric. This already impressive album just got more epic, more intense, more interesting and believe it or not more enjoyable and we’re only two thirds through.
‘Moronic Inferno’ invokes the likes of Bauhaus meets swell maps and a simple riff meets some twisted stabs and lush piano fills to make a simple yet complicated song but completely enjoyable. To wrap this up we are treated to an acoustic song ‘Sapiens (When We All Are Free)’, building on big Bowie-like chords is the perfect full stop to a really good album and one I’ll invest some time in for a multitude of moods and reasons. Take a bow John E Vistic you’ve done good Man – real good.
Author: Dom Daley
Seasonal affective disorder kicking in with the onset of Autumn, the icy tendrils of Winter seemingly just another dark cloud away? Scorch those bad weather blues away with a ten-track sunburst in audio form that goes by the title, ‘Dose’.
Yes, ‘Dose’, the second album from The Brothers Steve, follows the L.A. band’s well-received 2019 debut and is guaranteed to put a smile on even the gloomiest of faces; you’ll feel like you’re in the audience for a taping of Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In given the day-glo, power pop Summer love-in that pours out of this sugarbomb of a sophomore release.
That ‘Dose’ (available on CD and digital platforms this month) is such a great album should come as no surprise if you know anything about the band’s members and power punk pop pedigree. Singer/guitarist Jeff Whalen, drummer Steve Coulter, and bassist Jeff Solomon were members of Tsar, the glorious Los Angeles glam power pop crew who released two fabulous Noughties albums; the essential 2000 debut, ‘Calling All Destroyers’, hook-laden manna from harmony heaven that kept those of us allergic to Cookie Monster vocals and tracksuits-as-stagewear afloat as the new century dawned and threatened to musically yawn. Alongside singer/guitarist OS Tyler and guitarist Dylan Champion (Shapes Of Race Cars), this trio has fashioned a laidback, lo-fi winner of an album that will, for a short time at least, make everything seem alright.
If you love songs that sound like either the title- or closing-credits-song from a five-decade-old cult television show, then ‘Dose’ is the album for you. This is Summertime power pop floating on a psychedelic breeze; an exercise in retro righteousness that has a Chelsea boot in the Sixties, a platform heel in the Seventies, and is both British Invasion- and American garage rock-influenced: the album a true audio thrift store.
Opener ‘Get On Up’ is the alterno-reality theme tune to your favourite Seventies kids’ television show, second track, ‘Next Aquarius’, a dreamy, effortless tune that makes you realise that all bands could sound this fantastic if only the cool kids were allowed to make records. And that’s how ‘Dose’ plays out: lilting and ageless power pop that’ll make you want to dig out your Banana Splits shirt and Seventies seven-inch collection fused to late Sixties psychedelic pop that’ll make you want that childhood bowl haircut back.
‘Wizard Of Love’ and ‘Better Get Ready’ sound like they should have a vintage Top Of The Pops clips (drummer at the front, roadies doing synchronised dance moves) accompanying them, while gorgeous tunes like ‘Mrs. Rosenbaum’, ‘Love Of Kings’, and ‘She Will Wait’ will take you back a decade further with some aplomb. There are still hooks aplenty – the superb ‘Sugarfoot’ for example – and those wanting a touch of that Tsar magic will have to look no further than the most excellent ‘Electro-Love’.
That old Catholic guilt may come into play when you realise that, as people die all around us at the start of this new decade, our auditory canals have been gifted bands like The Brothers Steve and The Lickerish Quartet but, c’mon, we all know that life has teeth so surely it’s better to bare those gnashers in a shit-eating music-induced grin than in anger? A (wait for it) ‘Dose’ of this musical medicine will make everything taste sweeter, guaranteed. Highly recommended.
Author: Gaz Tidey