The Darts – ‘Love Tsunami’ (Dirty Water Records) Formed way back in 2016 to make some Garage Rock all girl noise they’ve toured with The Living End and The Longshots which in itself is impressive they had their last album released on Alternative Tentacles so why wouldn’t this three track 7″ blow you away? The lead track has that opening stab of organ mixed up with some groovy spooky backbeat and punchy bass it’s cool as fuck and that’ll do for us. The second offering is more of the same as ‘Shit Show’ is a swirling laid-back groove on the verse but when it hits the chorus it wigs out and that’s champion that is. Only leaving ‘Underground’ to pick up the tempo and fire up the engine as we head towards oblivion but with a jukebox full of top tunes. Pick this banger up Here

Wild Zeros – ‘Diggin It’ (Heavy Medication Records) France’s kings of fun, frantic rock’n’roll are back!
It’s been almost three years since we’ve heard from Wild Zeros with their 2019 singles compilation “Well Cooked!” (also released by Heavy Medication). Now, the gruesome threesome from Bordeaux celebrates 15 years of three-chord bashing with a KBD-styled three-song 7-incher titled “Diggin’ It”. Roaring guitars, galloping bass and heavy pounding skins join forces to deliver loud, trashy rock & roll that’ll please all fans of Devil Dogs, Teengenerate, and Infections as well as die-hard disciples of Crypt and Rip Off Records. ‘Dig The Dirt’ ticks all the right boxes as do the other two tracks with ‘Tough Job’ being more of a straight old school slice of punk rock with heads down and play that guitar until your fingers bleed. My fav on the single is ‘Did You Dig It?’ taking no prisoners with a dirty slab of garage punk rock. Nice! Buy Here

JOHNNY THUNDERS – ‘These Boots Are Made For Walkin’ (Golden Robot Records) One of my favourite artists ever gets dug up for the umpteenth time and this live recording of the Nancy Sinatra tune that Johnny performed numerous times. Howling feedback and nothing more than a soundboard recording or a pretty decent bootleg. It’s lifted from a forthcoming Golden Robot live album it’s classic Thunders. It’s sloppy, cocky, howling with feedback just as I remember him. Often imitated but never bettered Rest In Peace Johnny you crazy fucker. Top tune from a top musician and performer.

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Pat Todd & The Rank Outsiders – ‘Down On 7Th Avenue’ (Heavy Medication Records) ‘Down on 7th Avenue’ is a classic balls-out rocker that Pat Todd has made his trademark. On top of that, he never drops in quality with his ever-present attitude it mixes up some country, punk n roll but always a good time. “I Will Give Up” is a slice of New Orleans-styled R&B about picking up the pieces and movin’ on that accompanies another cold beer and tough guys shedding a tear in the corner with the best bar band dishing out the soundtrack. Another day another quality Heavy Medication release but this one is a Co-release with Dangerhouse Skylab (France) Yee-Haw!

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DAVID BIERMAN OVERDRIVE ‘She Don’t Love You’ (i94 Recordings) David’s band in the 80- 90s The Junk Monkeys were known for their straightforward rock and roll.  No metal overtones, no industrial edge, no rap hybrids.  Just straight-up rock n roll ala The Rolling Stones, The Replacements and Cheap Trick.

 The band toured relentlessly but David decided to leave the music business until now. After five years ‘She Don’t Love You’ shakes off any cobwebs and just Rocks and fuckin rolls period! It’s not reinvented punk n roll or any fad tune its just a subtle slow burner with a cool Westerberg vibe building into a cool chorus. The flip side is more of the same maybe coming in more on a Green on red rockin out tip mixed in with more of that cool Replacements vibe. Excellent offering check it out Here

Ming City Rockers Jill Was An Anarchist’ (Self Release) The first single from their upcoming album ‘LIME’ which will see the light of day on Jan 26th. It’s classic Ming City Rockers. A rattling garage indie masterclass it’ll burrow down into your ear and lodge inside your head and before you know it you’ll be shouting at randoms that Jill was An Anarchist. Great to have them back

Bob Vylan – ”The Delicate Nature’ ft Laurie Vincent of Slaves (Self Release) Another cracking slow burner from Vylan until the final furlong when he picks up the pace. OF the success of the first two albums Vylan shows no sign of letting up with this new track. Easily one of the UKs most exciting artists does it again.

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Black Aces – ‘Show You How To Rock’ (Off yer rocka records) Whats that you say there hasn’t been a great DC-infatuated band kicking it for quite a while. Well, get an ear full of these boys. Aussie pub rockers Black Aces are also set to celebrate the five-year anniversary of their highly praised sophomore album release, ‘Anywhere But Here’. In honour of the occasion, album opener Show You How to Rock N Roll has been given a brand-new lyric video release featuring behind the scenes and previously un-released footage of the band from over the years. In the middle of a UK tour we recommend you turn it up and check em out! Buy it Here / Connect with Black Aces: Website / Facebook

DEADWOLFF ‘Heavy Rock N’ Roll’ (Golden Robot Records) Hold on a second, We’ve covered these hard rockin gods before and if you’re looking for a second opinion then ‘Heavy Rock and Roll’ is it. It’s a studded gauntlet double thumbs up from HQ Deadwolff take no prisoners and run on whisky fumes and a heavy dose of Witchery. If you don’t dig this bad boy then you clearly aren’t friends of ours. Absolute stone cold class. Old school motorhead meets warfare, meets Dianno, Girlschool and some grubby punk rock for attitude. Bring on the next release and make it an album packed full of the same just more! Love it!

There is an album on the way from this classic three-piece Canadian outfit in the can and we can’t wait. Get em over to the UK with Wolfspade so we can all windmill and headbang like possessed mother fuckers! Now!


Black Star Riders – ‘Crazy Horses’ (Earache Records) An audacious cover version of a 70s classic sees Black Star Riders’ cover of The Osmonds’ “Crazy Horses” deliver the goods – the vocals are pretty spot on, an eyebrow-raising impressive and energetic take for sure. Lifted from the new album ‘Wrong Side of Paradise’, out 20th January 2023. Pre-order now on signed CD, limited edition coloured vinyl, special collector’s sets and more at

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Nov. 18 is the explosive date of the release of this rare live concert footage of the indomitable High Priestess of Metal, Wendy O. Williams, featuring Special Guests Lemmy and Wurzel from MOTORHEAD, on DVD.

Shot at London’s Camden Palace in London in 1985 and originally broadcast on Sky TV, the footage captures Williams in a rare and pinnacle moment in her now iconic and legendary career – with trademarked backbend screams and scorching vocals at an unmatched, blood-pumping, high-energy athletic pace. The largely speed-metal set features an appearance by Lemmy and Wurzel from MOTORHEAD, who join Wendy onstage for the song “Jailbait,” as well as audience sing-alongs for “Bump and Grind,” with lead guitarist Michael Ray on Wendy’s shoulders, “Fuck and Roll,” the song “You’ll Succeed,” a crowd pleaser that never made it onto an album, Wendy’s “Banana Rap,” and much more.

Wendy’s musical career began in 1977, when she met radical counter-culture artist Rod Swenson in NYC and he created the PLASMATICS, a band of changing musicians around her that revolutionized American culture, creating a shockwave still felt today. “Way more than a rock band,” as John Levy said on VH1 some years later, “the Plasmatics were a phenomenon.” “The Ramones x10, the Sex Pistols x10, the Clash x10,” wrote Charles Young in Classic Rock. They introduced the mohawk to mass American culture, fused punk and metal when those groups hated each other, and produced stage shows that included Wendy chain-sawing guitars and blowing up full-size cars, among other things that have never been matched to today. Banned in London, busted in Cleveland and Milwaukee, Wendy and the Plasmatics were introduced in 1981 by Tom Snyder on his late-night TV show as “the greatest punk band in the world.”

By 1982, after the release of two albums (New Hope for the Wretched, and Beyond the Valley of 1984), and an EP entitled Metal Priestess, the Plasmatics released the landmark punk-metal fusion album Coup D’Etat, which the LA Times called “the best slice of heavy metal since the last AC/DC album,” with Wendy’s vocals so strong as to make the likes of “Pat Benatar sound like Judy Collins.” For the next two albums, Williams and Swenson decided not to use the Plasmatics name, eliminate the theatrics (“been there, done that”), and focus on Wendy’s vocals.

The first of those albums, the WOW album, was produced by Gene Simmons of KISS and got Wendy a Grammy nomination for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance of the year, and was picked by heavy-metal bible’s KERRANG’s Malcolm Dome as “Best Album of the Year.” Wanting to bring back the speed of the Plasmatics, Wendy’s next album, a full-out speed metal album, Kommander of Kaos (KOK), was released the next year. And it was during this period in 1985 that this concert was shot. The show was produced by Philip Goodhand-Taite and directed by Rod Swenson.

Anyone familiar with Luke Haines will know that his albums and projects are unpredictable. Typically, after Peter Buck bought one of Luke’s paintings of Lou Reed, the two ended up working on the ‘Beat Poetry For Survivalists’ album. With tales of rocket science, magick and Bigfoot, it’s an acquired taste. I loved it, and this time around, after last year’s excellent ‘Setting The Dogs On The Post Punk Postman’, Haines and Buck reunite in a more solid, band format. Luke seems to mainly be playing acoustic, Buck does his thing, weaving through Luke’s soundscapes, while Scott McCaughey plays bass and mellotron and Linda Pitmon is on drums.

That said, these are clearly Luke’s songs and vision. Psychedelic paranoia abounds from the off, with ‘The British Army On L.S.D’, woozily stating “with my bare hands I’ll chop down this tree”. ‘The Skies Are Full Of Insane Machines’ builds the tension, while ‘Sunstroke’ lets you breathe, a slower acoustic track, with Luke’s now expected recorders. ‘Revolutions’ gets groovy to thoughts of past empires, 45 rpms and bloody revolutions. It’s catchier than it sounds! Although the album is more experimental overall than the previous two, Luke always brings enough tunes to sweeten the darker moments.

Speaking of which, ‘Won’t Get Out Of Bed’ comes on like an alternative Burt Bacharach. You may already have heard it, along with ‘Psychedelic Sitar Casual’, which could be an Auteurs riff, unsurprisingly. I always look forward to a new Luke Haines album, you never know what you’re going to get, but it’s always good. Maybe I’m overthinking, but it sounds a little less ‘English’ than ‘Setting…’. I wonder if it was already written before they started playing together? Any chance of an interview, Luke? Let’s hope so.

The quality doesn’t drop, whether it’s ‘Subterranean Earth Stomp’ with a wonky, glitter beat or ‘The First Time I Met God’, with acoustic and E-bow, with God dressed as a Teddy Boy. ‘(Exit Space) All The Kids Are Super Bummed Out’ starts like an alien choir, taking us on a far-out seven minute journey. The tablas are out for the hypnotic ‘Iranian Embassy Siege’, there’s tales of ‘Flying People’ (excellent drumming), and the jazzy ‘Diary Of A Crap Artist’. ‘Waiting For The UFOs’ is a fitting place to end this trip, man. There is more, but I’m off for another listen. It’s an album that benefits from headphones, for your undivided attention. Luke Haines has done it again.

*Tune into Boogaloo Radio, Fridays 12-2pm GMT for Luke Haines (Righteous In The Afternoon)

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Author: Martin Chamarette

Canadian speed metal merchants Exciter, along with bands like Accept, Motorhead, and fellow Canadians Anvil, are widely regarded as one of the innovators of the speed metal movement. Speed metal was a precursor of thrash metal, and it has been argued that Exciter invented thrash, but for me, that title sits firmly on the shoulders of Metallica. I believe that Exciter was an influence on what would come later but they were never a thrash band.

Their debut album Heavy Metal Maniac was released through Shrapnel records in 1983 and they had a successful run throughout the eighties touring with the likes of Mercyful Fate, Motorhead and Manowar. The band split up in 1989 but reformed in 1991, the line up at the time consisted of drummer/vocalist Dan Beehler, bassist David Ledden and guitarist John Ricci. The album I am listening to right now – Kill After Kill was released in 1992 on Noise records. The album is being re issued by Cherry Red Records, it has been remastered and includes extensive liner notes and contributions from the band describing the recording process and the changing climate in the metal world at the time.

This is my first time listening to this album and I have to say it is an extremely enjoyable listen for an old school metal head like me. Pounding drums, screaming vocals, manic guitar riffs and song titles like Smashing Em Down and Rain of Terror give you a good idea of what is on offer here. There is nothing highbrow about Exciter, they absolutely deliver the goods here though. Dig out your studded wristbands and bullet belts, turn this up to eleven and worship at the metal altar of Kill After Kill!

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Author: Kenny Kendrick

As we gathered slowly in the cavernous Hammersmith Odeon at the ungodly hour of half six the Italian trio Smalltown Tigers strode onto the vast stage and proceeded to deliver an energetic set of power pop punk rock with some great hooks and plenty of tunes The Smalltown Tigers seemed to be loving life. It’s a shame there wasn’t a capacity crowd in already as I think that would have helped with the energy of going on so early but it would have been a tick off the bucket list to tell anyone they’d played the famous place and with The original Damned. I think had it been in a small tight club these three ladies would have enhanced their reputation tenfold so until next time…

Next up was the ever-enthusiastic TV Smith & The Bored Teenagers who proceeded to waste no time in taking out two mics, getting tangled with a third in the bass player guitar lead but still managing to race around like a teenager. TV delivered a really good set with an impressive catalogue of songs always opening with ‘No Time To Be Twenty One’ which set the tone. Playing with boundless energy and class and ending with a rather splendid hattrick of songs in ‘Bored Teenager’, ‘Gary Gilmores Eyes’ and ‘One Chord Wonder’ leaving the stage to rapturous applause to a now swelling audience.

TV was followed by The Skids who again rose to the occasion with an impressive ten-song set that included (the U2 song) (I know I’m only yanking your chain) ‘The Saints Are Coming’ an excellent ‘Circus Games’ some memorable as did the Hits of ‘Yankee Dollar’, ‘Masquerade’ and the most excellent ‘Into the Valley’ Jobson dancing and some very amusing banter from the frontman as well. By now the venue was packed and everyone seemed in a great mood up for it and joining in which was fed back from the stage before playing tribute to brothers’ fallen as a worthy rendition of ‘Complete Control’ was covered and they thoroughly deserved their ovation as they left the stage.

Finally, the moment had arrived and a show they said could never happen was upon us and the excitement was building. Well, It was just about to bloomingwell happen. when these four walked off stage back in the turn of the 90s I thoguht like many (the band included) that was that, never to be repeated but sometimes if you dream hard enough those dreams can come true.

Now I know Damned fans can be a funny old bunch and famously hard to please but not this bunny, nope me I thoroughly enjoyed turning back the clock. It was exactly what I’d hoped it would be, the incendiary debut album with a healthy splash of ‘Music For Pleasure’ teetering on the right side of under-rehearsed and as garage as fucking possible. Fuckin’ beautiful! So they’re a lot older and Brian was physically a bit shaky but fuck me the man has magic in those fingers and a tone to die for. Rat was never a drum tickler; more a smash-and-dash player who played with his heart on the inside of that snare he always felt his way through songs knowing when to give it some (al a Moon) and when to lay back and shuffle and you never lose that if you’re one of the great. Rat Scabies is one of the greats and tonight he played like he was actually enjoying it and the realisation that fuck me – The Damned could play and more importantly, they had the tunes to go with the chops.

sure right from the off Captain and Dave looked like they were on top of the brief and were enjoying being part of history and for this to work there wasn’t time to fuck about or scratch old wounds this was a celebration that they have endured and triumphed in the face of adversity and competing with a pandemic this day had finally arrived and it was spectacular.

Now I’ve never subscribed to the misconception that ‘Music For Pleasure’ was a dud and on the back of the spectacular debut they’d run out of ideas and tonight I was overdosing on the record getting my fill of tunes from the horn-honking ‘Alone’ to the MO of ‘You Take My Money’ via the non-album tracks like ‘Stretcher Case Baby’ and the splendid ‘Problem Child’ they should champion that bloody record and tonight it got a fair airing.

Brian delivered the abrasive garage chops with tone and panache and plenty of volume whilst the much-underrated rhythm section of Captain and Rat held it together in fine fashion. So it was hanging on by a thread at times but that was always part of the appeal, wasn’t it? This was punk rock with a huge dash of Garage just like Their heroes The Stooges this band could go toe to toe and in my humble opinion give Iggy and the gang a TKO on the song front as a friend once said to me The Damned were his Beatles and I have to agree having seen them dozen and dozens of times over many decades this one seemed special, after the pandemic and shall we say disagreements this seemed special, Cathartic, emotional and just about perfect.

The band was smiling and actually looked like they knew this was the right decision and playing these songs again together was absolutely the right thing to do and that shone through in their delivery. Vanian must have struck a deal with Beelzebub as he looked as lean as he’s always done, stalking the stage, sometimes in the wrong key sometimes not, but who actually cared it was never meant to be anything other than four men hammering out some of the finest songs ever written, their place and time in music should never be a footnote to the Pistols and Clash but the other way around they were the first to kick this off and trailblazers they have always been and paying tribute to their achievements as those trailblazers the set was perfect with a fine balance of debut album songs – hell, they even smashed out a brutal ‘Stab Your Back’ which might have been the tightest song of the night. From opening with ‘I Feel Alright’ this was more than alright this was beautiful right through to ‘New Rose’ but not before they delivered ‘Pills’ and as they’ve done before it was a poignant ‘the LAst Time’ and into the night the four heroes went. That was emotional just like Rock and Roll was intended to sound. Raw, electric, and dangerous. Fuck I love The Damned, can we do this again sometime, please?

Author: Dom Daley

Sometimes gigs pop up and you just have to book, no thought necessary especially when it comes to a legend of the Underground, one of the original pioneers of Art Rock, a founder member of the Velvet Underground, appeared on Nick Drakes Bryter Later, as well as producing bands as diverse as Squeeze, Patti Smith and Sham 69!! I mean come on he even set out the score for Leonard Cohens Hallelujah that Jeff Buckley followed, only thing is this gig was initially logged as with an orchestra, and the special guests weren’t actually announced until the week before.

 Safe to say when Gruff Rhys (Super Furry Animals) James Dean Bradfield (Manic St Preachers) and Cate Le Bon (previous collaborator of both Gruff Rhys and John Cale) plus adding in a gospel choir were announced you knew it was going to be a bit special.

Before diving into the gig I have to say something about the setup in the Millenium center for the Festival, exhibitions, live acts in the foyer, and other acts in Smaller theatres if you get a chance to check it out next year it’s well worth a look (As a footnote Pussy Riot were playing in the other theatre).

The gig itself? Wow talk about a representation of an artist’s career, but reworked updated, and current. The first song that jumped out at me was the third track in Do Not Go Gently Into That Good Night, wow talk about emotional, next up Mercy more than held its own in fact the new stuff (LP is released in January) really sets a high bar. Then the first of the guests came on and just Wow, Cate Le Bon stole the show completely if anything I’d have loved to see her perform some Nico-era stuff but we made do with Gideons Bible and the stunning Ghost story.

Next up the superb Style it takes from the Songs for Drella collaboration with Lou Reed. After drifting through Hatred and Half past France we had the first of another two newies Hanky Panky Nohow and for me, the standout of the night “Moonstruck” both a tribute to and homage to Nico.

Gruff Rhys then entered stage left to bring us Dead or Alive and Jack the ripper returning us to an era of Psychedelia, before Guts cranks things up swiftly followed by a personal fave from the Velvets I’m Waiting for the man, now if only Cate Le Bon could have/had time allocated to perform All tomorrow’s parties or Femme Fatale, it would have been perfect (but what do I know).

Next up James Dean Bradfield brought a whole new dimension to Buffalo Ballet and Ship of Fools, before Cale’s interpretation of Heartbreak Hotel, if you’ve never heard it do yourself a favour!!! Then we’re into the last couple Hedda Gabler and Oh La La.

I have to say the orchestra, Brass section, and Gospel Choir all deserve a mention, adding huge depth and layers to the songs.

It’s not every day you get to see a Bonafide legend of the underground, it’s even less when the new unheard songs yet to be released show you how even now John Cale is shifting focus, bringing something new to the plate. Pity pussy Riot wasn’t the support act instead of playing in a separate theatre. Would have definitely made my night.

Author: Nev Brooks

Not one to retire quietly Iggy releases a video for a new song ‘Frenzy’ where he draws in some big hitters to accompany him on the recording. Duff McKagan who he hasn’t worked with since ‘Home’ is thumping the four string whilst Chad Smith pours petrol to fuel the fire in the engine room. I’d love to think this points to a new album in 2023 of raging garage rock n roll from Mr Pop that would be something to look forward to that’s for sure – until then this will more than do.

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Originally streamed live via BBC Wales (from this very venue) during one of the UK’s Covid lockdowns, Death Songbook is a labour of love (and death) for Suede frontman Brett Anderson and renowned conductor Charles Hazelwood. Re-imaging their chosen roster of songs with the hugely talented composer/arranger and multi-instrumentalist Charlotte Harding to celebrate life’s ending and the transcendence of the soul via a rich tapestry of sound, provided by the world’s first integrated ensemble of virtuoso professional disabled musicians, the Paraorchestra.

The Millennium Centre, is certainly bristling with life tonight though, as the first live outing of Death Songbook is being staged midway through a 5 day festival of voice, brought together under the banner of Llais (which Welsh for Voice by the way), with the venue given over to such things as; the Welsh Music Awards, an exhibition celebrating the Cardiff music scene, whilst there are also topical debates and live performances from artists as diverse as Pussy Riot through to the combined choir of Cwmdare Voices and Pelenna Valley Male Voice Choir, who just happen to be opening proceedings, in their own imitable joyous fashion, here tonight.

With the sound of ‘Yma o Hyd’ setting the tone perfectly for what is about to follow, tonight is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before in the live arena, not least because 1) it’s my first time of experiencing the bar setting and jaw dropping acoustics of the Millennium Centre’s Donald Gordon Theatre for a live music event, and 2) it’s the only time I can ever remember in my forty plus years of going to watch live music that I’ve been at an all seated event and not wanted it to just bloody end as soon as it started.

Why? Well Death Songbook is unique on so many different levels, not least in that it exposes the true power of Brett Anderson as a performer, and indeed voice of a (new) generation, and anyone who can deliver an almost acapella version of ‘My Death’ and make it sound their own, truly deserves all the plaudits they are due. It is also the fact that this isn’t just Anderson and Co. doing cover versions of songs they love and respect, no, these songs sound positively re-born in this format, and be it Skeeter Davis or Mercury Rev tunes (both of which featuring the additional vocal talents of Gwenno) given the Death Songbook treatment, they sound absolutely magnificent.

There are of course a few dalliances with Anderson’s very own back catalogue, and for me it is the orchestrated version of ‘She Still Leads Me On’ from, what has to be one of 2022’s best albums, ‘Autofiction’ that hits home hardest. Written as a tribute to the lasting effect his mother has had on his life, long after she has passed away, which is something that I’m not afraid to admit also resonates strongly with me. It’s during this version delivered without his usual Suede sidekicks that its noticeable just how much Anderson loves this new material and for once its also fantastic to savour his finely maturing voice without him seemingly having to shout over them too (as anyone who witnessed their recent appearance on Jools Holland will no doubt have observed).

With one foot well and truly placed in the ‘80s via the song selections from Depeche Mode and Echo & The Bunnymen and Japan (the stunningly beautiful version of ‘Nightporter’ has to be heard live to be believed) I do have to wonder why Talk Talk’s impressive back catalogue wasn’t considered for inclusion? Perhaps, it’ll be held over for Songbook 2? Something that must surely be on the horizon given that Anderson and Hazlewood have been writing together (‘Brutal Lover’ is premiered tonight) …and I for one certainly hope this to be the case.

Who ever thought death could be so much fun, eh?

Author: Johnny Hayward

Taken from the new album ‘I Live To Fast To Die Young’ – still drinking from the fountain of youth Monroe and his awesome band deliver this fantastic new video for ‘Derelict Palace’.

Seconds out round two how about this spooky banger from Swedens The Dahmers ‘On Halloween’ is the second spooktacular tune for this Tuesdays offerings.

The Dahmers, are a Swedish rock ‘n’ roll horror sensation that’s creeping up on you. With a tornado of influences like garage punk, classic rock and 60’s pop this band truly is a Frankenstein’s monster of music. This is a band who’s going their own way with colorful contrasts and still keeping the main essence of what they are all about. With their catchy tunes that get stuck to your brain like a leech, The Dahmers sucks you into their music and to a world filled with darkness. Their lyrics and aesthetics have a big inspiration from classic horror movies but you also find emotional exposures about frustration, solitude and alienation amongst other things in their songs. They are skeletons with attitude and put as much effort into the visual experience as in their music. 

Spaghetty Town Records (USA) along with Ghost Highway Recordings (Spain) will be releasing “On Halloween” as a vinyl single in 2023. 

The Black Halos are back and the Darkness has Doubled! since ’94 The Black Halos have been at the forefront of punk n roll when the world was shoegazing and not wanting to look or sound like they were in a gang or band of brothers, bands like The Black Halos were a much-needed shot in the arm and above all they had songs. Plenty of em and they were fan-fuckin-tastic!

The self-titled debut was a much-needed shot in the arm and to follow it up with the magnificent ‘The Violent Years’ the band could do no wrong. They were on MTV and all was good.

With two further albums and some line-up changes, they were still contenders and I loved those albums but something was missing. Now original members Billy Hopeless, Rich Jones (guitarist with Michael Monroe, Ginger Wildheart, AMEN), and Jay Millette, have got the mojo back for the band and that X Factor is right up front and centre on this new album. Joined by new boys John Kerns (The Age Of Electric) and Danni Action (ACIIDZ) the rhythm section is on fire and stoking the furnace in the engine room for the band to truly set ablaze these new songs.

After a few singles that came out ofver the last couple of globally troubled years, we need bands like The Black Halos out there doing it and leading the way for honest, beautiful punk n roll. when they released the singles the sound was there and the tunes were easily some of their best ever written and recorded – maybe their time apart was needed to rebuild and come back stronger and wiser.

The album, recorded in Toronto and mixed by Dave Draper (The Wildhearts, The Professionals), as the guitars kick in on the opener ‘A History Of Violence’ the years just peel back and twenty years melt away. Its got adrenalin, melody, and the familiar Black Halos gang vocals and we’re underway with a Cheshire cat grin knowing that shit just got serious and The Black Halos are in the fuckin Room!!!

the record sounds amazing and ‘Tenement Kids’ opening lick sounds like classic Manic Street Preachers if only they had the bollocks to turn up their guitars its a belter of a song that will leave the intro lick inside your head to just sit dormant before growing over time and before you know it your singing along – classic Halos. A couple of the previously released singles get a look in with the lyrically astute ‘Uncommonwealth’ that just rumbles along like a prowling hungry pissed-off beast. It was a great single but in the mix of this record, it sounds brilliant. The relentless slap of the snare and repetitive chant is pure Halos.

‘Forget Me Knot’ is a confident stab with some magnificent backing vocals and the whole arrangement is one of their finest – its fair to say these gents live it and love it and on songs like this champion it and so they should. They mix things up on the song ‘Better Days’ adding variety on the guitars and it has to be said Billy’s vocals are sandpaper wrapped in a velvet glove his melody is exceptional and again I have to return to the arrangement – its so well delivered it sounds like we’ve been playing it for years never mind a mere couple of weeks, these are better days indeed with a soundtrack like this.

With eleven originals and one amazing cover, this record is unquestionably one of the best records I’ve had the pleasure of all year and it’s so pleasing to hear a band I love absolutely deliver the goods and some. There isn’t one second that doesn’t deserve praise and I’ve heard a lot of music this year but this sounds special and the more I’m playing it the more songs are jostling for positions with a solo that stands out here or a melody there it’s honestly that good. ‘All My Friends Are Like Drugs’ or the epic and heartbreaking ‘Ain’t No Time To Say Goodbye’ written for Mr Chi Pig (SNFU frontman) it was and is one of the best singles I’ve heard for several years, I must have played this song a thousand times since it was released on yeah right! records back in August 2020 if you’ve never heard it then there is no better reason to get a hold of this album right now its one of the best songs the band has ever written and that’s not even up for debate.

In the belly of this here record, you have a cover of The Wanderers ‘Ready To Snap’ which was a fantastic tune, and roping in legend Michael Monroe to handle vocals alongside Billy makes perfect sense, and boy this is how to do a cover from the passion in both vocalists delivery to those backing vocals this song goes to the next level. If I haven’t done my job and whet your appetite for this album then I can only apologise to the band, the label, and to people who still believe in Rock and Roll and its amazing powers if you only buy one record this year then I suggest you beg, steal or borrow a copy of ‘How The Darkness Doubled’because it is a relentless, high-octane blast of classic Halos punk rock ‘n’ roll! and one of if not the best record released in 2022. How’s that for leaving on a ‘Positive Note’ now getoutofhere! you beautiful bastards! The Black Halos have just nailed it…again!

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Author: Dom Daley