‘Silent’ Mike McKinnon has been anything but “quiet” since the singer/guitarist parted ways with Notts garage punks The Hip Priests a few years back. Initially putting together a well-received set of acoustic tunes as a self-released/self-titled debut back in 2019, before joining hard rockers Wraith as their lead singer and then subsequently re-joining NOOSE, the band he initially left to join the Priests for. Phew! In between all of this Mike somehow also found time to continue releasing solo songs and covers EPs throughout lockdown, oh and let’s not forget a live acoustic album too.

But, as that wise old punk rock sage Jimmy Cricket (eh?) once used to say…”there’s more”.

Yes siree, as coming out via Bandcamp on 21st November 2021, Mike is about to reveal the follow up to his self-titled acoustic record, in the shape of ‘All Sides Disaster’ PLUS an all-new hardcore punk album, going by the name of ‘Silent Like A Bomb’.

Building on the rock-solid foundations of Mikes’s self-titled debut acoustic record and containing a dozen all new tracks, the immediate thing that hits me about this follow up is just how much McKinnon has grown into the role of vocalist with (the curiously titled) ‘There’s One I In Win’ in particular being a superb example of a musician totally at ease with his weapon of choice. Plus, with ‘Inner Revolution’ ‘Not Giving Up’ and ‘Gotta Change’ having already crept out via Bandcamp during lockdown it’s exciting to discover that the final versions that make ‘All Sides Disaster’ are all much more developed those earlier pseudo demo versions.

There’s nowhere to hide when its just you and a guitar fronting up to an audience so the songs you play certainly have to be good to carry things off and keep people’s attention and on ‘All Sides Disaster’ Mike has written a diverse array of tunes that range from the Americana tinged ‘Run For It Marty’ to the now electro pop influenced ‘Not Giving Up’, and via  the RATM style rap breakdown during the excellent ‘Broken From The Inside’ he has more than enough musical curveballs to keep the biggest gig loudmouth quiet..

Then again Mike could always just strap on his electric guitar and play the ten songs that make up his ‘Silent Like A Bomb’ record, as this is one hell of a joyous punk rock racket that would be impossible for anyone to talk though. Simply because you’d be too fucking busy in the pit to do any chinwagging.

Recorded with the help of a couple of da Priests (Des on drums and Ben on guest lead for the deathpunk beast ‘Fuelling The Tanks’) with Bitch Queen’s Harry Darling providing the final mix ‘Silent Like a Bomb’ is a record that immediately “goes off”, from the opening riff of the 52 second awesomeness of ‘Misdirection’ it doesn’t let you go until the album’s title track and closer has left you totally drained. This is the record that the young Mike that’s grinning out at you from the cover of his ‘All Sides Disaster’ would have been kickflipping all around his local skate park to back in the day, but before you think it’s just a homage to ‘80s hardcore/crossover take a listen to the likes of ‘We May Never Know’ with its fantastic pop/punk vocal undertones or the almost Priests-like ‘Set Up To Fail’ both of which lend ‘Silent Like a Bomb’ a very modern edge indeed.

It would be great to see Mike doing these ‘Silent Like A Bomb’ songs live with a full band, simply because they are some of the most exhilarating UK hardcore tunes I’ve heard in quite some time and they really do deserve to be heard all around the world. The mission to do just that kicking off at Mike’s album release/birthday party on November 21st at Foremans Bar in Nottingham, and if you cannot make that night then both albums are available to pre-order right now via the links below.

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Author: Johnny Hayward

Renowned Bauhaus archivist and mastermind level expert Andrew Brooksbank has dug deep into his mind and diaries to dredge up the humble beginnings and misadventures of Goth Pioneers the one and only Bauhaus.

Daniel Ash, David J and Kevin Haskins, are the primary characters in this impressive Tome that has been obsessively and meticulously researched. Chances are you’re reading this because you’re a Bauhaus nerd or possibly just a music geek who loves to shine a light into the dark recesses of bands histories to see what made them work and get to a pitch where someone will write a book about them and to be fair there are none more unique and mysterious than the dark lords of gothic imagery and post-punk genre leaders Bauhaus.

This book gives a sense of perspective and what makes a band tick and reaches out further than their local pub or town center to play all over the world and sell many many records over decades. The primary characters all shared a love of Bowie, glam and what was happening quite quickly around them in such unchartered times that were the 70s. A time like no other for what was happening in music. 

Brooksbank sure knows his subject matter in impressive detail. Includes interviews with Northampton’s new wavers doling out their memories of important times, places and people, as well as Ash and the Haskins brothers themselves, If like me you have an interest in the band but not an in-depth knowledge then this really adds meat to the bone in an easy on the eye way and a book that doesn’t dismiss the casual fan and only appeal to an illite few. The flow is great in bite sized passages all dated for easy reference.

If you’re wondering where the band’s vocalist is in all of this, well, Peter Murphy’s journey to Bauhaus is also referenced throughout, as the band’s story is told up to and including the recording and initial triumph of ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’ at the final knockings of the seventies. I did chuckle that ‘Bela Legose’ lyrics were written whilst David J hoped on and off his bike when the ideas came to him. It’s great to read about early shows being played in the Rock and Roll maelstrom of Wellingborough at 3pm for kids. Brilliant stuff.

Brooksbank has been referred to by David J as the “invaluable ‘tenacious truffle pig’ adept in the unearthing of minutia and obscure facts”, a quote that must be manna from Heaven for a fan of any band to be referred to with such affection. The book also contains dozen and dozens of grainy transferred pictures as well as flyers, demo mixtapes, ticket stubs live shots and so much more.

After reading it front to back I’ve also enjoyed dipping in and skimming the pictures where you also get a sense of how a band evolved in such an inspiring time in music. It’s written with humour and the cast of friends who contribute with their anecdotes really make the book such an engaging read. It’s a no-brainer for a Bauhaus fan but for anyone who likes reading about music, this is great and coming from such a creative time when innocence was something to nurture and wasn’t seen as a weakness or disadvantage. Seeing how a band rose from a time in music that was simply beautiful and rewarding it’s 40+ years ago yet a lot of us remember it like it was yesterday. ‘From arthaus’ is a Great trip – you should check it out its a pageturner for sure.

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Author: Dom Daley

Pennywise frontman Jim Lindberg has been making inspiring, skate punk anthems since the 1990s. Musically, he’s drawn his influences from a few genres to create his melodic hardcore to the PMA influenced sounds of Minor Threat, 7 Seconds, and Dag Nasty mostly the usual suspects who often get mentioned from American punk rock culture.

Lyrically, Jim has taken inspiration from philosophers and used his lyrics to rally against political hypocrisy and corruption.   Pennywise are often described as heartfelt songs about self-reliance with a tonne of upbeat messages and individual betterment.

On his new solo acoustic debut, however, ‘Songs From The Elkhorn Trail’, Lindberg looks inwards, producing an album that is a personal reflection of life, a testament to family and friends, and a look at himself and where his life has taken him. Encompassing everything from family, friends to loneliness and alianation.  

I wouldn’t say its taken a while to get to this point but Lindburg recons the songs have been over 25 years in the making, the album is hislifes story. His father who passed away in 2018 of Alzheimer’s Disease is a huge inspiration for the record, having encouraged him in many aspects of his lifeand was fully supportive of him chasing his dreams in a punk rock band which is as cool aas it gets to be fair.

The album features David Hidalgo Jr. of Social Distortion on the drums, Joe Gittleman from The Mighty, Mighty BossToneS on bass, and Marc Orrell The Dropkick Murphy’s on guitar.

Having already released the first inspiring anthem “The Palm Of Your Hands” from the album, You get the feeling of an uplifting yet understated anthem. The downstrokes of the acoustic and the gang vocals are like taking a deep deep breath before a huge exhale. With PMA lyrics.

The album artwork is produced by Los Angeles local and musician, Bob Dob. The imagery in the artwork reflects the fact that many of the songs on the album were written at his father’s Palm Desert house near the Elkhorn Trail.  Bob’s painting feature punk rock and pop culture icons, video game characters, beach culture stereotypes, historical references, and Disney characters. Jim has said, “It’s a supreme honor that Bob agreed to do the artwork for the album and collaborate with me on it. He’s one of my favorite artists of all time.” It just adds to the back story and the warm fuzzy feeling of satisfaction when listening to the record.

I love the electric bass rumble on a predominantly acoustic driven record and add the stabs of brass like on the punchy ‘I Feel Like The Sun’. ‘Hello Again’ reminds me of The Hold Steady its pretty much wholesome pop songs written from the heart with that alternative twist. I guess its all about where the songs come from and whos driving the writing which dictates how they sound. Hell its not Ed Sheeran but nor is it Neil Young but it is acoustic pop music. Lindburg keeps it simple and reminises about his dad as the song develops to the piano solo which sounds like it was found in some smokey barroom.

As the album meanders through the melancholy of ‘Don’t Lay Me Down’ and its sad cello and stringed ensemble underpinning the acoustic strumming makes for a lovely song in a dark way. In Contras is the full blooded ‘Not One Of Them’ with its full band vibe. In a countrified moment the Dylan inspired harmonica wheeze of ‘Blood On Your Hands’ shows the variety on offer and the talent of Lindberg in his songwriting.

‘Good Enough’ is as close as you get to a bit of punk rock acoustic style. Sure its got that Bad Religion, Green Day SoCal attitude running through it and you keep waiting for the drums to kick in but – Spoiler Allert, they don’t.

One of the strongest tracks is the string laden ‘It’s Only’. Lindberg turns in a really good vocal – his emotions shine through to be fair as your hanging off his every word. In contrast then we get the Soft Cell drum machine beamed in from the 80s for ‘The Basement’ which has a demo feel to it as it races off at pace before some more frantic riffing on ‘On Fire’ that is relatable for many punk rockers everywhere.

The album eases itself out with ‘Long Way To Go’ with its fiddle solo and all in all a great place to sign the record off. It never outstays its welcome and there is enough variety to not get bored with the sparse nature of the tunes. A throughly enjoyable trip is ‘Songs From The Elkhorn Trail’ it will instantly connect with a lot of people who will relate to where Jim is coming from with his lyrics. Besides, Sometimes its cool to dance to a different beat so to speak, at least every now and then and this record is full of suprises and really good tunes. Top effort.

It’s out digitally on Epitaph from Nov 19th and then on CD and vinyl next May, 2022.

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Author: Dom Daley

Echo & The Bunnymen have released the vinyl reissues of their first four albums (‘Crocodiles’, ‘Heaven Up Here’, ‘Porcupine’ and ‘Ocean Rain’) on heavyweight black vinyl and limited-edition coloured vinyl. This is the first time the albums have been available on vinyl since their initial release in 1980, 1981, 1983 and 1984 respectively.

ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN were formed in Liverpool in ’78 with Ian McCulloch on vocals and rhythm guitar, Will Sergeant on lead guitar and Les Pattinson on bass. They were soon joined by Pete De Freitas on drums and the rest, as they say, is history.

After releasing their 7” single ‘Pictures on My Wall’ on Zoo Records in ’79. ‘Pictures on My Wall’ would appear on their debut album ‘Crocodiles’ in 1980. The Release saw the band quickly gain a reputation amongst the post-punk bands, ‘Crocodiles’ also got great press which was an oddity at the time. The album has a great energy and Sergent’s guitar clash still sounds fantastic from opener ‘Going Up’ right through to jolting ‘Happy Death Men’ that closed the album’s ten tracks. There is a spark as the band thumped out tracks like ‘All That Jazz’ with its distorted guitar and ratatat military drum beat. the high points of the album were probably ‘Rescue’ which still sounds fresh to this day Forty years on! it has stood the test of time.

I checked through my collection and the albums got the special CD treatment for their 25th Birthday but never a vinyl reproduction until now that is. ‘Crocodiles’ had the classic Bunnymen style and swagger that’s still the band’s heartbeat today. Youthful enthusiasm.

The band followed the album with the release of the ‘Shine So Hard’ EP in 1981, recorded live at the Pavilion Gardens in Buxton, before releasing their second studio album ‘Heaven Up Here’ in the same year. It went Top 10, winning the 1981 NME Best Album award in the process. The growing confidence and probably the band technical proficiency meant they could be more adventurous with the sound of the songs and from the off, ‘Show Of Strength’ was more complex rhythmically. Take nothing away from the band’s debut but this was certainly a step forward. The band also managed to pull off having the record produced by Hugh Jones. ‘Over The Wall’ was an altogether much darker song with the deep synth sounds leading the way. I always thought of the band as a very rhythmical band and often the drums and bass would lead the track none more so than the title track where Phil De Freitas was on fire driving the rest of the band to weave some musical magic.

The band really went overground in 1983 with the release of their third album ‘Porcupine’, produced by Ian Broudie. ‘Porcupine’ provided their best chart performances, with ‘The Cutter’ reaching #8 in the singles charts and Porcupine finishing #2 in the album charts before being certified Gold. Tracks like ‘The Cutter’, ‘Back Of Love’ truly defined the band’s style and became signature tunes and remain staples of their live set to this day. It’s the hits from ‘Porcupine’ mixing the band’s post-punk and love of Bowie the band was stretching themselves to the max making song arrangments their peers weren’t. It was melancholic pop at its best. There were bleak arrangements created with synths and samples that were so exciting. I love the rush I had from listening to ‘Clay’ back in the mid-80s and I still got that same feeling today with McCullochs unique and instantly recognisable vocals these rereleases on vinyl are like a breath of fresh air and still sound fantastic. I’ll admit I’d not played these albums in their entirety for a few years.

1984 brought the fourth studio album ‘Ocean Rain’, regarded by many as the band’s classic-sounding record (with the strings). Recorded in Liverpool and Paris, the band used a 35-piece orchestra with award-winning composer Adam Peters scoring the strings. Something the band did better than any of their contemporaries. The cover art is the stunning Carnglaze Caverns in Cornwall that were taken by photographer Brian Griffin, (who also shot their three previous album covers). ‘Ocean Rain’ was considered by many to be the record the band was building up to from their debut only a few years earlier, (to be fair four really strong albums in four years, not something that happens often if at all these days) this was where they wanted to be and had finally arrived at the top table with an album to challenge any other band making music in the mid-80s.

The use of strings made the band stand out and do it better than any of their contemporaries the main difference between The Bunnymen was they had the songs to go with the style and from the off ‘Silver’ was a great lead single to showcase what they were all about. It still sounds big with the strings punching in. Two more big singles were released from the album after ‘Silver’. ‘Seven Seas’ and the anthemic ‘The Killing Moon’, (which reached #9 in the UK singles chart) and gives you goosebumps, even to this day it’s a song I can never tire of hearing.

It’s hard to believe it’s forty years give or take that these albums came out. They’re sonically timeless albums and it’s the supporting cast of musicians that helped make the Bunnymen the band they were, from the strings to the talents of the likes of Ian Brodie and Johns bringing something different to their respective albums. The videos were creative as well from ‘The Killing moon’ to the striking ‘Seven Seas’ a time when MTV was everything and these videos burnt their mark onto a young impressionable kid’s brain. Hearing these records again in their entirety without bells and whistles added but keeping it as originally intended with just a classic polish and rerelease on 180gm is perfect.

Anyone who remembers the 80s alternative pop/rock scene of Icicle Works, Bunnymen, Teardrop Explodes, Early U2, Spear Of Destiny, and Waterboys to name a few; will look back fondly at these four albums and nod quietly to themselves and remember how bloody good they were/are. Indulge yourself in the creative, early period of one of England’s finest bands from the 80s. When bands were left to grow and develop – something that’s very clear on these four LPs which goes to show how rich our musical heritage is and how damn good Echo And The Bunnymen are. Replace your old copies or catch up on some classic albums.

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Author: Dom Daley


Desert grooves? Doomy Stoner vibes? Hypnotic Sabbath riffs? You name it and Sardinians Loose Sutures have it by the boatload! This sophomoric record certainly lives up to it’s Grindhouse B-movie title, especially now as the nights draw in….

I had trepidation at first, spying the song title ‘superfast shit kebab’ and the long noodley intro track but when the songs kick in, the band show their wares and that they know how to rock out with barn burners such as ‘stupid boy’ and low end throbber ‘sunny cola’. 

‘Last cry’ has equal amounts of classic Sabbath and MKII era Deep Purple deliciously blended, whereas next track ‘mephisto rising’ channels the former with all the necessary demonic Wah every listener needs. 

The record continues in this vein, constant delivery of pure evil riffs held together with excellent rhythms and grooves on tracks ‘black lips’ and ‘animal house’. Would you believe that the aforementioned ‘superfast shit kebab’ ends up being the euphoric standout track of the record! An anthem to say the least. 

The album finishes off nicely with ‘death valley I’ and the follow up ‘death valley II’, delivered immediately and up front, quick progress indeed if you compare it to George Lucas standards. Part one being the heavier of the pair but don’t discount the sequel, it’s packed with day-glo Psych vibes. Both very hypnotic and encapsulating, though in different ways.

The band describes this work as a journey of toxic tastes, endless nightmares, tempting mistresses born out of a sickly strip club……. Yeah, I couldn’t say it better myself. Ingratiate yourself with this record, hit the Med, get Loose and go get Gashed! 


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Author: Dan Kasm

Released a few months ago it took a crazy amount of time for my copy to get over the ocean from the USA to the UK but after a few weeks of playing it I’ve decided Anti Flag should record all their records in this fashion and fuck polishing them just hit record and lay the damn things down – it sounds fabulous.

Anti-Flag formed in Pittsburgh in the late 1980s, as a reaction to the turgid Reagan years that melted into the Bush reign. America was a right wing powerhouse the only good thing to come out of those administrations was a wealth of punk rock kids who were motivated to kick against the pricks and in the early 1990s, Anti-Flag released a cassette titled ‘17 Song Demo’, full of raw fury and Clash inspired energy, and they weren’t afraid to say what was bothering them.

To be fair to bands like Anti Flag it’s like Groundhog day with Trump leading America for four years that same anti-Regan and Bush movement had someone else to rage against the machine which kept them relevant musically and lyrically. 17 Song Demo, has been released on CD and vinyl, with an eighteenth track, a cover of “That’s When I Reach For My Revolver.” Some of these songs would be re-recorded for their 1996 release ‘Die For The Government’.

The LP kicks off with ‘They Don’t Protect You’, a song about how the police don’t protect the poor. You’d never think it was written several decades ago! This song has great, harnessed energy about it, and whilst being a demo it sounds tight. It’s followed by “Red, White, And Brainwashed,” which comes at us at a furious pace, and touches upon the systemic racism of this nation. “They call that being a patriot/Well, I just call it ignorant/If you don’t fight to make thing better/Then you’re the one betraying this country.” Oh yes! “Your Daddy Was A Rich Man (Your Daddy’s Fucking Dead)” is a middle finger to people who come from privilege and do nothing good with it, the exact people who think their riches are some kind of superior status and put them at odds with the real world. This spirit and energy is something they manage to keep harnessed throughout the record, it should be given away in schools to disenfranchised kids to show them that music can set you free and be worthwhile. Get away from the phones, computers, social media there’s a great big world out there.

Anti Flag were ahead of the curve when these songs hit as they were a tight unit who had principles and a punk rock ethos that is admirable and more than anything, needed in a world that seems to not give a shit day after day after day.

“Kill The Rich” is like the bastard child of ‘Sonic Reducer’. ‘Betty Sue Is Dead’ is another great song that shows how the band could groove and it wasn’t all crash bang wallop. They could do covers as well and make them their own like the extra track, a cover of “That’s When I Reach For My Revolver,” originally done by Mission Of Burma. All in all a very respectable collection of songs that are well worth investigating, It’s great to see how the band evolved and how they broke out from the first official album that set out their road map for success on their own terms and they’re still going strong.

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Author: Dom Daley

Danish rockers Electric Guitars are ready to unleash their latest album Freewheeler, and what a great record it is. Lush harmonies, catchy hooks, fantastic musicianship, and great production values make ‘Freewheeler’ a thoroughly enjoyable listen.

Electric Guitars is the brainchild of Soren Anderson and Mika Vandborg who have worked with some of the best in the business, (Glenn Hughes, Mike Tramp, The Darkness etc). The bands sound is a blend of hard rock and power pop, and there are some fantastic tracks on offer here. Opener Dopamine kicks off with a great chug along riff and a driving beat courtesy of Morten Hellborn (cool name). A super catchy song with hooks that grab you from the first listen. Hot Blooded Woman is next up, a tale of um…. a Hot-Blooded Woman! Some dodgy lyrics don’t distract you too much from the song which showcases some excellent guitar work from Vandborg and Anderson.

Nervous Breakdown is another ear worm that really sticks in your head after a few listens, the song talks about how society is falling apart all around us…yep! Zero Four stomps around like a spoilt child before the chorus pulls you in. Cut Loose has a classic Thin Lizzy vibe and yet another monster chorus. The album’s title track drives us along in the fast lane with hooks galore and some wonderful guitar work.

There is plenty of variety in Electric Guitars’ sound, a combination of AC/DC, Aerosmith, Cheap Trick, and Disneyland After Dark. The music is very accessible, short, well-crafted songs that really make an instant impact. The band gel well as a unit and you can really feel the chemistry between the band members.  

Freewheeler is a piece of solid rock that delivers on every level. If you’re a fan of the bands I’ve mentioned above, you will absolutely love Electric Guitars. What are you waiting for? Go and check them out!


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Author: Kenny Kendrick

The Perfect Time To React is the new single from “Out Of Tune, Out Of Key” Lester Greenowski’s latest solo effort released at the end of 2019 on Tornado Ride Records.

The video has been crafted by English animator Neil Williams “Stelos485”, already known for his works on songs by Beatles, Ramones, Bad Brains etc.

Williams sets The Perfect Time To React in a dystopian future with a style strongly influenced by Bakshi, Balser, Campbell and classics such as “Heavy Metal”.

The collaboration between the two artists was born during the pandemic that crushed Greenowski’s tour dates and his new work promotion. The Perfect Time To React therefore presents itself as the right opportunity to work together on something new.

The song, despite being written, recorded and released just before the world pandemic, seems to have been specially composed.

Today, the two artists share their work hoping that it will be inspirational to those seeking the strength to react. Lester and Neil try to convey their desire to return to normality.

The Perfect Time To React is another important step in Lester’s artistic career, who in a few months will celebrate his first twenty years as an author.

Lester, in Italy, represents the perfect link between Punk and Hard Rock. A bridge between the two genres that the artist has embraced in a transversal way.

Lester is able to express himself through his music reaching both audiences. Injecting his music with a strong Rock and Roll attitude breaks him out of the niches.

In his twenty years of activity, Lester proves to be one of the few Italian artists with a great international scope, with a strong street credibility gathered on the field in about a thousand live shows throughout Europe.

Countless openings, the likes of the underground audience, as well as the seal of approval of fellow musicians that Lester regularly involves in his recordings or with whom he plays with (Honest John Plain, The Crybabys, Brandy Row etc.) make him one of the most interesting characters in Italian Rock And Roll.

Lester still has a lot to say and sing. Let’s start today with The Perfect Time!!!


The debut album from London rockers hits the streets this month and what a full force hard rockin’ machine this is. Fronted by Kit Swing there’s no compromising going on here it’s full-throttle hard rock all the way. Opening with ‘Snatching Defeat’ and there isn’t any poker face happening here its cards on the table and look you in the eye hard rock as Ms Swing leads the band with her rasping no compromising style as the band signal the battle cry and plough on.

‘Car Crash’ might be a little prog as it twists and turns with the overdriven guitars screaming and riffing like it’s going out of fashion. Leaving any subtleties at the door and just turning up the power and going for an uncompromising hard n heavy approach and using blunt force instead as the band head for a noisy conclusion.

The band head off into a bit of a jazzy intro not too dissimilar to the stuff Rollins did with his band on their latter albums but its something of a false start here because ‘Black Salt’ opens up into the heart and soul of the album as the band take off like a rocket pounding your senses into mush with a riff and tempo that is as aggressive as anything you’re gonna hear this year. Almost five minutes of galloping rock that’s giving you the finger and a swift kick to the temple (metaphorically speaking of course).

There’s no turning back now as ‘Live Fast, Die Last’ continues the rage. It might not be the most original sound or style but the playing and delivery is first class and is uncompromising and has an attitude to boot. Now ‘Deadbeat Rodeo has a great opening riff and the vocals working with that riff is excellent. A Tonne of energy is harnessed amongst some trickery on the desk makes for the highlight of the album right here. I bet this would sound devastating live in a packed room the bad captures excitement and rage right there.

To finally set fire to this record the band destroy ‘Tarzanello’ whatever the fuck that beast is they’re taking it on with a barrage of noise it deserves and with its Ant like reprise they’re doing it their own way – zero fucks given baby. Seven Days make one hell of an uncompromising racket and I’m sure that’s the way they like it Get on board or get out of the way SDADD are an unstoppable force with the beats and riffs to prove it.


Author: Dom Daley

Portuguese-Canadian-Swedish alternative collective Lusitanian Ghosts release their second album full to bursting with ancient sounds for the 21st Century and beyond. Imagine the most beautiful panoramic watercolour of big sky and deep waters ebbing and flowing well this would be the most exquisite soundtrack to such a painting.

Founded in 2015, Lusitanian Ghosts are Neil Leyton, Mikael Lundin (a.k.a. Micke Ghost), João Sousa, Omiri, O Gajo, Abel Beja, Janne Olson and other artists that come and go within the collective. It all began when Neil Leyton brought Micke Ghost a Viola Amarantina in Stockholm when visiting from Lisbon.

An album about life, love, loss and freedom of choice. Single ‘Never Less Than Lonely’ is about the loss of memory… from whichever perspective. Alzheimer’s, or cancer. Losing people slowly, watching them fade away. This the band’s second album ‘Exotic Quixotic’, is released on European Phonographic and is every bit as adventurous as the debut perhaps even more daring and joyful, dark and reflective.

The album was recorded on analogue tape and mixed by Sebastian Muxfeldt (Elbow, Peter Doherty, Teenage Fanclub) at Hamburg’s Clouds Hills Studios, recasts heritage folk violas into rock and roll songs

Lusitanian Ghosts strive for building a better world, Writing and performing songs from and for the heart and the mind. Their compositions mix indie songwriting with traditional Portuguese instruments like the Beiroa, Campaniça, Braguesa, Terceirense and Amarantina guitars (or violas as they are called in Portugal), each with its own string arrangements and tunings.

The bands sound coming from something of a unique place has Neil Leyton steeped in traditional indie Rock and Roll and his love of bands like the Manics and The Dogs D’Amour even, reinventing the style in an almost folk style yet remaining fresh and original is exciting and engaging.

The documentary ‘Lusitanian Ghosts: Making Of the Lusitanian Ghosts debut album – Chordophone Rock n Roll’ elucidates on why most of these Portuguese ancient instruments (the real Lusitanian Ghosts) have become forgotten over time. For this album, they’ve done away with the guitars, using only chordophones, along with bass and drums. Even the snare was replaced on many tracks with the Adufe, a Portuguese square drum.

“This is all Chordophone violas from Portugal – namely the viola Amarantina, Braguesa, Campaniça and Terceira, played by the Lusitanian Ghosts collective including Canadian-Portuguese artist Neil Leyton, Micke Ghost (the first Swede to play the viola Amarantina!), Vasco Ribeiro Casais aka OMIRI (Portugal), Abel Beja (USA/Portugal, viola Terceira from the Azores), João Sousa on drums (sometimes replacing the snare with the Portuguese square drum Adufe) and Jan-Eric Olson on bass. But not just bass! Janne borrowed O Gajo’s viola Campaniça for some extra dark licks. Chordophone rock n roll, Alt-Folk, Urban-Country-Folk, however it gets labelled what should come across are the humanist messages in these songs,” says Micke Ghost.

Featuring ten tracks from the upbeat opener of ‘Soul Deranium’ its brushes on the snare and some fantastic arrangements and a cacophony of string instruments attacking your senses and reeling you in its intended as a “protest song for the ages” whilst its four minutes of Rock and Roll performed differently it reaching the same end result, daring and adventurous and capturing the spirit perfectly its all there.

‘All The Sounds’ is Leyton at his emotional best as the song builds through the chorus before going back to the start. Then the title track has the soul of the early 70s Bowie or Ronnie Lane penned Faces song but also sounding very modern and original. It’s stirring stuff indeed.

Call it alt-folk or anti-folk – whatever, it’s just Rock and Roll isn’t it? just a different flavour with different instruments. I do know it’s engaging and quite beautiful. A very emotional record that oozes quality and passion both lyrically and musically. One of my favourite songs is the rush that is ‘Living One Life (Just Isn’t Enough These Days)’ it lasts a stunning six-plus minutes with the first half just building on the riff before a word is uttered.

‘Lisbon Calling’ is a European twist of ‘London Calling’ something of a first cousin, maybe played differently but with the same beating heart.

‘For The Wicked’ is dreamy as the snare shuffles Leyton’s hushed tones sound menacing as he rallies against religious or political extremism, populism, or any other kind of anti-humanist behaviour its engaging and as the general vibe of this record its a beautiful thing and thoroughly engaging even if you have no idea what the songs might be about the overall feeling is exceptional beauty and Leyton and Ghost should be so proud of what they have created with this record. I urge you to investigate this album further and I promise you will reap the rewards of what is a stunning collection of songs. An absolute triumph of songwriting and a texture of musicianship that has light and darkness that has to be appreciated for its boldness and a record that is an absolute pleasure to play regardless of one’s emotional state. Take a bow Lusitanian Ghosts for delivering such a stunning record.

‘Exotic Quixotic’ album will be released on November 19 and can be pre-ordered via Bandcamp.

Author: Dom Daley

Lusitanian Ghosts live in Setabul https://youtu.be/7nGWKAGC3sc
“Never Less Than Lonely’ https://lusitanianghosts.bandcamp.com/track/never-less-than-lonely
‘Never Less Than Lonely’ pre-order https://lnk.to/neverless 
Album pre-order https://lnk.to/exoticquixotic 
Bandcamp https://lusitanianghosts.bandcamp.com/album/exotic-quixotic
‘Soul Deranium’ https://open.spotify.com/album/40JtZUOMwSaqeKcWpcKuxK 
‘All The Sounds’ https://youtu.be/wJZrl9wyvgs 
‘Exotic Quixotic’ https://youtu.be/FSGJHlHkTBE  
‘Making Of Lusitanian Ghosts debut album’ https://youtu.be/KwX3FHEl-cI