Kiss head honcho Gene Would put the Kiss logo on anything if he thought he could turn a fast buck knocking it out to his hordes of fans around the globe. sometimes he is wide of the mark and sometimes he’s right on the money. Who would have thought way back in time when the band wrote ‘Cold Gin’ that all these years later he’d have the opportunity to actually deliver a Navy Strength actual Cold Gin?

So if you like the hard stuff or at this time of year are at a loss of what to buy the Rocker in your life then this is the ideal gift. Clocking in a minimum of 57% alc/vol it certainly packs a punch and having the band’s endorsement gives it the edge over the bazillion flavours of Gin out there on the market.

Naming it Navy Strength dates back to the 18th century when the British Navy stored their spirits next to gunpowder. Should the gin barrels split, spilling their liquid into the gunpowder, the higher strength content, a minimum of 57% alc/vol, ensured the gunpowder would still explode.

This ‘Cold Gin’ is made up of lemon peel, and a selection of fine spices. There are no artificial flavours or added sweeteners. The additional flavours of juniper and lemon are macerated and blended with the distillate, achieving a full balance of the botanical experience. This is superior quality and what truly sets it aside as the ideal season gift is its looks, Kool! your friends will be impressed with the stylish bottle, with its eye-catching silver and gold details, with all four band members metallically integrated on each side of the Brooklyn Bridge. The main label features a gold disc and the iconic landmarks of the bands home town, including the Manhattan Skyline. The Kiss Kool art deco pattern behind the disc is based on the scales of The Demon’s boots so a lot of work has gone into this and really does set it up as one of the better Kiss Kollectables.

It’s not a cheap bottle of Gin but then quality costs and once you get your hands on a bottle you’ll appreciate it and be warned, it comes with a kick!

Buy it and enjoy it because it “Cold Gin time again”.

Pick up a bottle Here

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Twitter @BrandsForFans

I’m pretty sure most of us…ahem…. more mature metal heads would never have thought that 40 years on from the latter days of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, two of the most prominent and important bands from that movement would still be around today. We certainly couldn’t have imagined that they would still be releasing new material and putting on the kinds of performances that I was fortunate enough to witness in the grand surroundings of St David’s Hall in Cardiff tonight.

It’s a travesty that Midlands based metallers Diamond Head never reached the dizzy heights that they were so deserving of. Similarly to Welsh legends Budgie, Diamond Head owe a lot to a certain thrash band from the San Francisco Bay Area who, as we all know covered some of their back catalogue and introduced a whole new generation of metal fans to the brilliance of Diamond Head. In 2022 Diamond Head are still a force to be reckoned with. I caught their set at this year’s Steelhouse Festival, and they were amazing. I was anticipating another banging performance this evening and they certainly didn’t disappoint!

With a short forty-five-minute set, they made sure that all eras of the band’s history were covered. The setting of St David’s Hall as a venue for a metal gig is always a risky choice with its set up of seating only. This had a detrimental effect for the first few songs of DH’s set with a lukewarm crowd who seemed to be restricted in building some momentum. Frontman Rasmus Bom Andersen does a sterling job of whipping up the crowd and he has a fantastic stage presence along with an extremely powerful voice. By the time we get to the three song closers of It’s Electric, Helpless and Am I Evil? the place is absolutely bouncing with everyone up on their feet, headbanging and horn throwing like their lives depended on it. Guitarist Brian Tatler still holds an impressive figure with his Flying V being wrangled to squeeze out every tasteful solo and gigantic riff. The rest of the band are no slouches either, an extremely impressive set, my only complaint is that it could have been a bit longer.

I know I’ve probably bored you all with this before, but I really can’t emphasize enough how important Saxon are in my musical development. At the age of thirteen, football was my passion and even though I religiously watched Top of the Pops every Thursday and listened to the charts on a Sunday, I didn’t find my calling until a boy I was in school with called Tim made me a tape of the Saxon compilation Strong Arm Metal. I had never heard music like this, and I was instantly in love. Pete Gill and Nigel Glockler are up there with my biggest drum heroes, and they inspired me to pick up a pair of sticks and start my own musical journey. Thank you so much Saxon, and Tim of course!

I was lucky enough to review Saxon’s latest album Carpe Diem earlier this year for this fine online magazine, (unbelievably their 23rd studio album) and loved it straight away. Some of their strongest material has been released in the last ten years or so and they are playing better than ever. I also saw Saxon at the Steelhouse festival in the summer when they graciously stood in when a certain guitarist who used to be in Kiss cancelled his performance. Saxon were on top form and played a blinder even with some of the band suffering from Covid at the time. They really are a class act.

The room is noticeably fuller by the time the band stroll onto the darkened stage to the sound of the stirring intro of the Carpe Diem album, and with a thunderous drum intro from Mr Glockler, we are off into full force Saxon at their best. They really put newer acts to shame with their boundless energy. Tasmanian Devil lookalike Nibs Carter literally doesn’t stop all night, running around furiously headbanging and jumping around like a teenager. The supremely talented Nigel Glockler is a delight to watch, his huge drum kit being battered for all its worth, and double bass drum barrages a plenty. Superb! The ever-present duo of Paul Quinn and Biff Byford are loving every minute and Biff’s voice sounds incredible. Doug Scarratt will forever be the new boy even though he’s been in the band since 1995, his guitar style and stage presence suit the band perfectly.

The set is a combination of new tracks from Carpe Diem, some old favourites, and some tracks they don’t play too often. It was great to hear Thin Red Line and Metalhead mixed in with Dallas 1PM and Heavy Metal Thunder. When Biff asks the audience which song they would like to hear out a choice of three, he jokes that they could probably do a week’s residence in Cardiff and play a different set every night… we might just hold you to that Biff! We end up with a fantastic rendition of The Eagle Has Landed which showcases Carter’s bass playing beautifully. The equally impressive sound mix and light show really highlights the atmosphere for this tune.

They pull out all the heavy hitters for the tail end of the set, And the Bands Played On, Wheels of Steel, a rousing performance of Carpe Diem highlight The Pilgrimage along with a Strong Arm of the Law/Solid Ball of Rock medley which leads seamlessly into their ‘should have been a number one single’ 747. We all witness a lovely moment during Denim & Leather when Biff catches a battle vest that a crowd member throws at him. He wears it until the guitar solo and then signs it and throws it back to the ecstatic fan. Quality. They close with Princess of the Night and confirm yet again that Saxon really are up there with the best in the world of metal. Looking around at the audience, it was great to see how many young people were in attendance wearing Saxon, Motorhead and Maiden shirts having the time of their lives. Bands like Saxon have worked so hard to maintain their roots as a true heavy metal band in every sense of the word. They deserve all the respect and success that continues to come their way. As Biff once sang: ‘Give us the stage, turn on the lights, fire up the sound, we’ll rock the nations’. They certainly stay true to their word.

Author: Kenny Kendrick

As the guitar dive bombs into a familiar sound, I have to be honest I had a lump in my throat but as soon as ‘Wild West’ unleashed its histrionics on my ears, I quickly decided that it was a great way to celebrate an iconic and much-loved exponent of the six-string and what better way to celebrate a life loved than in his natural environment – on stage banging out great Rock n Roll at high volume. Bernie Tormé was a Rock n Rolla from the moment he stepped out right up to his untimely departure on the eve of his 67th Birthday.

Tormé chose to let his music do the talking and naming his final tour – ‘Final Fling’ seems hauntingly prophetic now. The shows each night proved time and again that the Irishman had lost none of his joy of playing live, every night was the same in that he gave his all and it was always  – loud, brash, energetic, and did I say loud? and honest.

What you had live was the definition of power trio and after the decision not to record any of the shows, the band regretted not doing so – so loaded the gear into a live room and set up one more time to run through a set of classics numbers, spanning Tormé’s career. Featuring classics from across his solo career, as well as nods to his days in Ozzy Osbourne’s band and Gillan, ‘Final Fling’ captures the essence of what made Bernie Tormé so special.

The set list is of such a high pedigree with barnstorming takes on classics like ‘No Easy Way’ from his Gillan era as well as a few excellent Ozzy takes on ‘Mr Crowley’ and especially ‘Crazy Train’ complete with some dazzling guitar wizardry from those fingers. But if I was to pick a favourite over all the covers and tips of the hat to his past I’d go for the stunning ‘Star’ but the band is on fire on ‘Can’t Beat Rock n Roll’ and the Gillan era Elvis track ‘Trouble’ and this take of ‘New Orleans’ which always lit up a Gillan set. To be fair Tormé’s CV is quite exceptional from Ozzy and Gillan through his solo work or having Phil Lewis do some of his best work with Bernie or his time spend with Dee Snider through his solo material and the quite exceptional GMT line up Torme certainly saw it, bought the t-shirt and quite possibly played on the record.

Blow off some cobwebs on your speakers by blasting out this ‘Final Fling’ its exactly how a live recording should sound and having no audience is as it should be so Rest In Peace Mr Tormé and make sure there’s a Marshall stack and plenty of speakers up there for when you need to plug in and play on. Turn this bad boy up and let it rip!

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Author: Dom Daley

Photographer Steve Gullick and musician-artist James Johnston join forces for a boundary-pushing dive into a world of soundscapes that won’t come as a massive surprise to fans of either work. The pair first met in 1991 and formed the Bender, but it was much later that they decided to work on some experimental music. ‘Everybody’s Sunset’ is the second album released under their own names and follows on from 2021’s ‘We Travel Time’. The pair throw in a melting pot of violin, organ, guitar, banjo, autoharp, harmonica, piano, synthesisers to create a mostly instrumental soundscape that is both warm and cold yet distant and claustrophobically intense and generally headfuckin experimental post-rock. 

Experimental, avant-garde and all the other cliches you can throw at them but these guys are pushing the envelope of the outer reaches of a genre not contained in the tight confines that we usually like to put our music in. I admit right here I’m a massive fan of Johnston be it his solo work and Gallon Drunk this is well outside of my comfort zone. One of my favourite albums is David Sylvian’s ‘Secrets Of The Beehive’ and this is way outside most of Sylvian’s soundscape work so fans of that would be able to picture where I’m at.

At times it sounds so fractured that it could be made up on the spot and improvised as the song unfolds especially the instrumental stuff. But it is dark and light and pretty much every other juxtaposed feelings it’s way beyond Reed’s darkness or Bowie’s Berlin records I like it when PJ Harvey takes you further away from the boundaries of indie or rock music. I admire what I would consider being a brave record and some artists draw you in and take you with them on that journey and James certainly has done that over the years. Songs with ‘Sleep’, ‘Silence’ and ‘Medevil Death Song’ in the title bring up all sorts of jovial connotations I’m sure but are all totally fitting on this record.

I admit Instrumentals on rock records are generally a big miss for me but at times on less conventional records I quite like a good soundscape here the songs are generally short except for the epic title track that clocks in a shade under ten minutes. Wheezing strings make way for a solemn piano and vocal and goes on endlessly towards its final breath, epic is the best word to describe it and a fitting song to end on. Outsiders looking in should give themselves up entirely and reap the rewards of the bleak darkness and glowing warmth of this record I’m sure at different times of the day it will be different emotions being pricked when ‘Everybody’s Sunset’ is spun. Check it out

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If power pop is your thing, The Speedways are already on your radar. And with this, their third ‘proper’ album, I’m running out of superlatives fast. Put simply, since ‘Just Another Regular Summer’, they haven’t put a foot wrong. Quite how Matt and the boys come up with so many ear worms, I have no idea.

‘Dead From The Heart Down’, from the first heartbeat, will have you hooked. It’s like the first time I heard the debut album by The Jags, the attention to detail is fantastic, but it’s the tunes that stay with you. ‘Secret Secrets’ is the kind of song that I wish Johnny Marr would write, the guitars weaving between the sweet backing vocals.

‘Shoulda Known’ is one of my favourite songs this year, another that should be on the radio. Here comes the key change…classic. 1979 was an amazing year for pop music, and The Speedways, while not chained to the past, have absorbed the very best bits of the era to create essentially timeless pop songs. ‘A Drop In The Ocean’ starts with a Kinks ‘So Tired’ which wrongfoots you before the song proper begins. Another slice of romantic pop.

Thirteen songs and no need to fast forward. That doesn’t happen often, and guitarist Mauro has plenty of experience in this from his time in Jonny Cola And The A-Grades. From ‘Kiss Me Goodbye’ to ‘Strange Love’, you can just immerse yourself in perfectly crafted pop. It sounds effortless, but really isn’t.

‘Weekend 155’ is this album’s ‘This Is About A Girl…’, taking the band in a slightly different direction, which satisfies more with each listen. The title track gets a bit funky, which reminds me of some of Hanoi’s early tunes, a big compliment! It’s subtle but classy. ‘A Song Called Jayne…’ is the kind of riff you try to write, but never quite manage. Unless you’re Matt or Mauro.

‘Monday Was The Start Of The Stars’, with its conversation intro, and ‘Summer’s Over’ provide melancholy, bittersweet moments, with a hint of Jimmy Scott in there somewhere. Class.

I’d be very happy to have written only ‘Taken’ or ‘Wrong Place, Wrong Time’, and would retire. The Speedways have written an album chock full of ‘em. You think I’m exaggerating? Listen, then order. Treat your ears. Undoubtedly ‘Power Pop Album Of The Year’.

Buy Here / Beluga Records

Author: Martin Chamarette

Beyond Nostalgia And Heartache –

One night around Gaff’s for a few drinks, Kit was sitting cross-legged on the floor and talking about an Aerosmith song she loved…the feeling it gave her…  “…it’s… it’s like… beyond nostalgia and heartbreak!” 

“What did you JUST SAY?” (all this over blasting tunes and half-filled glasses)

That struck me as an incredibly beautiful thing to say. I changed heartbreak for heartache so it sang better and there ya go…. I ran and wrote it!

It’s a song about yearning to find joy… the peaks and valleys of striving for something you love… the feeling of the chorus melody and those harmonies lift you to a place that reassures you… you can still reach out… even through the hard times… sometimes the idea is all you have. But it can be lifesaving and special.

Not losing the dream in the struggle.

Craig captured that feeling perfectly… with every first guitar there are a lot of papers to deliver AND a lot joy… To try… and love what we do.

The video has a lot of heart and special locations… like the street and area in Wood Green Jeannie was born into… the wonderful All Ages Records ( in Camden… Denmark Street’s Regents Sound (regent guitar shop in Soho right across the street from the 12 Bar Club where I once worked and played many times… Jeannie even plays a guitar close friend Olivia Airey (Bassist in Berlin metal band Maggot Heart) gifted her years ago… 

The band live footage was even shot in Camden Assembly (formerly The Barfly… where I  first met  my wife after a show on tour from New York)

It stars my daughter Jeannie… which brings it all full circle.

All in all a fitting last single and video for an album that has been so special for us… and sets up the forthcoming album nicely.

Album available at…

Bandcamp / Facebook  / Instagram – @richraganyandthedigressions

Rich Ragany & The Digressions are also playing SOME WEIRD SIN at The Finsbury this coming Friday alongside Continental Lovers and David Ryder Prangley … and it’s free!!!

Steelhouse Festival are elated to announce that the Saturday headliners for the 28-30 July 2023 weekend are now in place. Australian hard-rockers Airbourne are confirmed to make their Steelhouse debut, in their only UK festival show of 2023. With more truly exciting announcements still coming down the track, we also already have more incredible bands locked in right now, including Friday headliners Kris Barras, plus The Answer, Blues Pills, Florence Black, The Vintage Caravan, The Damn Truth, Austin Gold, Kira Mac, Empyre, The Cruel Knives and Jordan Red

Buy tickets Here

Over a decade has passed since the inaugural Steelhouse in 2011, and the Festival at the top of the mountain boasts not only the best views of any UK rock event but one of the most passionate, friendly and loyal followings. With a reputation for not only bringing in the biggest and best names from the international world of Rock, Steelhouse also understands the role it can play in throwing open its prestigious stage to the best of the new breed of bands. It all adds up to a compelling mix of classic and cutting edge, old and new, near and far –  in this announcement alone we have acts from Australia, Canada, Sweden, Northern Ireland, Iceland, England and the Steelhouse homeland of Wales.

Airbourne said, “Wales! What’s crackin!! Are ya ready to rock or what!! We’ve bloody missed you! We’re pumped to finally get our arses back up your way to rock your mighty Steelhouse! Tons of great bands on the bill, it’s gonna be a great summer weekend of boozin’ good times and Rock’n’Roll, can’t wait for it! See ya in July Welsh rockers!! Rock’n’Roll TO THE F*****’ MAX!!!”

Promoters Max Rhead and Mikey Evans said, “Australia – one of the hardest rocking countries on Earth…Its fine lineage of world-class artists is legendary, especially those whose names begin with the letter ‘A’!  And with that, we are so proud to bring Warrnambool, Victoria’s finest rock n roll machine, Airbourne to South Wales next summer… Theirs is a show that, in the greatest Antipodean tradition, carries maximum high-voltage, full-tilt, blood, guts and thunder… Everything is left on the stage. Their Steelhouse debut heads up this first round of announcements which is heavy on talent from around the globe. Canada’s The Damn Truth and Icelandic trio The Vintage Caravan also make their first trips up The Mountain whilst SH2023 sees the welcome return of Sweden’s Blues Pills and Northern Ireland’s, The Answer. Add to that the very best new talent from England as well as our very own local lads – the German stadium-strutting Merthyr massive, Florence Black, we’ve got a bill that rocks hard and that gathers the best of international talent in July 2023. There is a lot more to come, including another international, globally renowned artist who’ll be making their first Steelhouse headline appearance… 

So, once again let’s get ready to Rocio y Mynydd / Rock the Mountain!

As I load up the virtual player, I can’t help being drawn back to a time when oil lamps were/ are the thing, pulsing light shows that emphasized the psychedelic sounds coming straight out of the physical media. Those days of 60s Psychedelia where bands like The Chocolate Watch Band. The Strawberry Alarm clock, The 13th Floor Elevators, The Seeds, and even the Fledgling Stooges formed a real soundtrack to the times, songs for the Counter Culture, the coolest of Generations so to Speak.

Why am I waffling away about 60’s underground Psychedelia, lesser-known Garage rock on such a Hip website? Somewhere the cool cats browse? Somewhere bang up to date? The answers in the Title and the fault lies fully with the Fuzztones and this updated remixed and expanded version of Preaching to the Perverted. No this didn’t come out in the 60’s it was first released in 2011!!! And really should have formed part of everyone’s collection back then. But you now have the chance to reinvigorate your taste buds and enter the weird and wonderful world of the Fuzztones.

This LP as you listen now is really a teeny bit special and only with I think the passing of the 12 years almost since its release do you realise how important it’s impact has been on the underground now and how many bands have been influenced by The Fuzztones.

 It takes you through a history of Psychedelia, from the lighter opening tracks such as My Black Lines and Between the lines to the almost Garage Punk intro to Set me straight (It could really be Stiv Bators singing the opening), before we move into the Psychedelic Blues of Don’t speak ill of the Dead. That R&B and Psychedelia vibe further combines with a Harmonica straight out of Hell within Old. But when you slip into next up Leave your Mind Behind your fully in the Freak scene, before Bluegrass???? Takes the lead and the whole trip takes a really weird turn, this could have come straight out of The Legendary Shack Shakers songbook!!!!

Before you realise that time has stood still, the trips almost over and we’re dropping/sinking backward into Lust Pavilion. As the Music slows the pulsing images start to subside and we drift back into our own reality our time in the ether almost complete, we head to a finish with almost a gospel-led vibe within Bound to Please underpinned with some straight-up Garage Rock Soloing, before we flashback via a bastardised Jazz intro/outro via Come to Me.

Get on the Fuzztones trip baby, and become one of the converted but remember with every trip there’s an up and down time, this Bastard Pulses. Rises and falls and takes you to some really strange places, Enjoy the ride.

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Author: Nev Brooks


UK punks Grade 2 announce their third studio album eponymously titled ‘Grade 2’ today, due for release on February 17, 2023 via Hellcat Records.

Their most representative work yet, the record is a thumping fifteen track tour-de-force melding the uncompromising ethos of punk with the howl of contemporary injustice, personal identity, and frustrations of Gen-Z youth, authentically told by three lads with punk coursing through their veins.

Grade 2 also share a new music video for “Under The Streetlight” ahead of the album. The high-energy track with a spirited, hopeful melody comes with a feel-good music video that praises the power of community. The band comments, “Even though there are times when life can feel stagnant or things aren’t going to plan, there will always be people there to support you whether it’s mates, a partner, or your family.” Watch the video below!

50 years after the genre turned the music world upside-down, UK based Grade 2 are bringing the raw power of old school punk to a new generation. United by a love of old-school punk, ska and oi, childhood friends Sid Ryan (vocals, bass), Jacob Hull (drums) and Jack Chatfield (guitar, vocals) formed the band at fourteen years old, honing their craft playing Clash and Jam covers before refining their own sound. With an album and EP already under their belts, in 2018 the trio signed to Hellcat Records – helmed by Rancid’s Tim Armstrong – and put out their 2019 record ‘Graveyard Island.’ After getting invited to work at Armstrong’s Ship Rec Studio for Grade 2, the band was stoked to be back.  “Returning to Ship Rec Studio resparked that magic dynamic,” says guitarist Jack Chatfield. “When we’re in there I feel like we reach our full potential. Tim would offer tweaks and tips for some songs, while others he’d compliment the first time we’d play them.”

Melding the near-mythical musical heritage of their native Isle of Wight with the humdrum reality of growing up in a tired seaside town, Grade 2 spit out blistering punk music laced with passion, angst, humor and despair. With a commitment to the cause, lead single ‘Doing Time’ is a thunderous hardcore punk track screaming “Spoon feed me corporate lies; I left that place with a noose to my neck.” Frontman Sid Ryan explains, “Like everyone else, 2020 left us proper fucked off.” He continues, “Yet we were able to channel every ounce of that despair into every second of this record.”

What results is a bone-crunching 35-minutes that agitates, intoxicates and liberates in equal measure. The trio is famed for blistering live performances and exceptional musicianship, and they have successfully packaged the essence of their live show in the limited format of an album. Tune in and turn up. Here’s a record to rattle your bones, stir your heart and have you singing till you’re hoarse like it’s the first day of punk.

Grade 2’ Tracklisting

1. Judgement Day

2. Fast Pace

3. Under the Streetlight

4. Doesn’t Matter Much Now

5. Midnight Ferry

6. Brassic

7. Gaslight

8. Don’t Stand Alone

9. Streetrat Skallywag

10. Parasite

11. It’s A Mad World, Baby

12. Doing Time

13. Celine

14. See You Around

15. Bottom Shelf

Watch Grade 2 live on tour at the following UK gigs in 2023. Tickets available now.

March 7th, 2023 – The Lexington, London

March 10th, 2023 – Louisiana, Bristol

March 18th, 2023 – Classic Grand, Glasgow

March 19th, 2023 – Star & Garter, Manchester



It’s been a while since I dipped into the Ruts DC sound, even longer since I caught them live, way back in the Melkweg in Amsterdam with Johnny H and in truth a break from a Brutal afternoon of Gimp Fist, Lions Law and Discipline!!!

But on to this baby, welcome to One of my Favourite LPs of the year so far in a year that’s had some real blinders. A reminder of the times we’re living in, while also reminding us that Punk has a voice, and sometimes it just has to be listened to.

Opener Faces in the sky is one of the strongest openers to have hit these ears in a while, then Caught in the Kill Zone just moves it up a gear!!! That guitar sound that we all love front and centre.

Next up X-Ray Joy, shifts sound and focus, much lighter before things again move up a gear the sound just washes over you, drawing you in deeper and deeper. There’s the merest hint of a reggae skank to the beginning of The Question is before that Bass run takes over and that stabbing punk guitar nudges you reminding you of where the Ruts come from, where the sound is grounded, a societal scream of anguish, a story waiting to be told. Born Innocent gives you that hint of a dub reggae opening before the message in the lyrics stands tall and we move into some gorgeous lead guitar work.

Next up Counterculture again draws on that Ruts heritage, the guitars picking at you, “Whatever happened to the Counterculture?!” standing tall as a vocal refrain, probably standing up as my fave track on the LP. Too Much has an almost soft rock intro before that’s put firmly in its place and we’re back into that guitar sound we all know so well.

Truth be told there isn’t a weak track on this LP!!! Definitely, an LP for the times we’re struggling to survive in, led by the latest Tory Austerity measures, paying astronomical bonuses to the bankers (Give it 5 years and we’ll be bailing them out again) with Energy suppliers bleeding us dry, more than ever we need to turn and embrace the Counterculture, giving that light of Hope that music provides.

Fair play what an LP!!! Get in there!!!

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Author: Nev Brooks