A marriage made in heaven is Killer Kin dropping their debut album on Dead Beat Records. Killer Kin are a wild and reckless power Garage band kicking out the jams loud and fast and through the medium of some killer tunes channelling the spirit of Ron and his bro Scott via the heart n soul of Stiv and a whole host of cool cats from the MC5 to motorhead its all in here kids and you just need to cut loose and go with it.

New Haven is where it’s at, yup Connecticut rock n roll central baby. from the opening salvo of ‘Mr Dynamite’ you are under no illusion of what this is about. It’s hedonistic fast n furious here for a good time and not a long time as the roar of the bass guitar rumbling like a freakin freight train. It’s high adrenalin little Richard meets Lemmy rock n roll with some Chuck Berry thrown in for good measure captured on old school analogue with the needle firmly placed in the Lo-Fi red just the way this high octane shit was meant to be.

the bottom line is this – if you have the fire then you can dance with the devil and tame the savage beast and Killer Kin just nail it ‘On The Chain’ is moving and shakin like a shitting dog grooving on the Stooges riff and doing it so sweetly its a beautiful thing. As you stagger through the ten tracks on offer you are left wondering how bands like Killer Kin aren’t at the top of everyones list for bands to champion. ‘Stunner’ is rapid, ‘Hound Howl’ is thuggish fury as it blasts from start to finish – Gawd damn I love this record it makes me want to run through a brick wall.

Hang on a minute ‘Damned And Doomed’ is a slice of Dirty Deeds DC done through the medium of Garage punk and when it shifts seamlessly through the gears it gets punchy. ‘Motorbanger’ paves the way for ‘Sonic Love’ which is just about the peak of this record as it evokes the reckless Jim Jones rockin’ out with Jerry Lee on a long lost Hip Priests banger. What a killer record this is, 100% sonic energy like a rocket in a bottle that’s just been shaken and exploded everywhere I only wish there were more bands like this who cut loose their influences and ran with it spilling their heart all over the stage and capturing it on tape to share with the world. As the band sound like they’re about to spontaneously combust on ‘Shock Collar’ it only leaves the honking ‘Cross That Line’ to burn out and not fade away.

What an explosive record, full of energy and style it swaggered in like a fuckin peacock with a heart as big as the Stooges and blasted out like the bastard sons and daughters of the MC5 in full flight. Fan-Fuckin-Tastic they are the future and not the past they sing as it crashes and burns and asks what we think about that. Well, I think they’re bang on and I’m here to testify that this record can and will make you more desirable and live longer. Absolute Banger!

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Author: Dom Daley

There’s nothing better than the feeling of the sticky floor of your favourite local live music venue on a rainy Sunday evening, but just like the time just under a year ago when I first encountered tonight’s headliners live, I regret to say that once again the Covid social media warriors who swore they’d be at every gig if a venue would be brave enough to open during lockdown. appear conspicuous by their absence, I bet they’re probably all at home too busy posting about the national alert signal they didn’t want to go off on their mobile just a few hours earlier.

Ho hum, still those of us who are in da house, and I see quite a few new faces amongst those parting with their £8 (yup you can still do gigs for under a tenner folks) at the door, are in for a right rollicking night of live music make no mistake, and I can think of no netter way than starting things off than 30 odd minutes in the company of Chepstow based punk rockers Bottlekids.

Having not seen the trio live in quite a while it’s interesting to see (and hear) they’ve not only added a feisty cover of 3 Colours Red’s ‘Mental Blocks’ to their set, but also (to my ears at least) moved ever so slightly away from the more pop/punk edge or their earlier sound into a harder more aggressive direction. There’s still plenty of hooks and “woah ohs” to enjoy, but the band themselves appear have really grown as songwriters via their 2022 ‘Zilch!’ EP pushing the needles well and truly into the red and live they really are one hell of crack unit. Bottlekids really have been beavering away on the live front recently, playing gigs right across the country, and with plenty more shows on the itinerary for the rest of 2023, make sure you get out and support them, because as we all know, it’s always nice to discover a great new band you’ve never seen before (or in this case, not in a good while).

Which is exactly how I discovered tonight’s headliners, Californian R&B surf stompers The Atom Age. Sauntering in off the street eleven months earlier half realising a band I’d heard via a YouTube video a friend had sent me were playing Le Pub and then immediately being blown away, tonight, is going to be my first proper encounter with the 12 legged rock ‘n’ roll monster, as this time around I come prepared with a knowledge of the band’s back catalogue, but will it prove to be just as impressive as that initial encounter?

Well, it takes just a few seconds of opener ‘Honeybees’ to answer that question. Shake, rattle and rolling the always impressive Le Pub sound system The Atom Age launch themselves into action like an MC5 shaped musical torpedo and they aren’t about to miss the target. We, the audience. It’s fascinating to watch six musicians so seemingly different (visually at least) gel into such a formidable live force. From the Wilko Johnson meets Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist antics of singer/guitarist Peter Niven, to the Pål Pot Pamparius of the farfisa Fred Brott, there is an explosive edge to the band that is only balanced out by the uber cool saxophone licks of Brendan Frye and (and I’m still chuckling at the one) the young Jack Jarvis charms of anchor-man MC guitarist/singer Ryan Perras. Add to this the substantial bottom end powerhouse drummer Fat Tim and bassist Kevin Mohn and you have a band able to level audiences and venues in equal measure.

Set list wise the band are (perhaps understandably) still out on the road promoting their Covid impacted 2019 album ‘Cry ‘Til You Die’ (available tonight for just £10 on vinyl and £5 on CD folks…are you listening The Bronx?) as though it is a new record, and there are some actual newer tunes like ‘Til We’re Shakin’, a track custom made for any upcoming Tarantino soundtrack, plus the frantic BRMC-like set closer ‘I Was A Rock ‘N’ Roll Narcissist’ that indicate the future does indeed sound great for The Atom Age.

Of the older Atom Age tunes aired tonight it’s still ‘I Hypnotize’ that flicks all the switches for yours truly, the tune sounding not unlike an unreleased cut from ‘RFTC’ era Rock From The Crypt, and who couldn’t love that?

Elsewhere the aforementioned ‘Cry ‘Til You Die’ album gets represented by its soulful and sassy opener ‘Love Is A Numbers Game’, the strutting ‘Walk Through Walls’ and perhaps that record’s best cut, the glorious beetle crusher stomp of ‘Never Looking’ with its divine “woo-oo” vocal breakdown, all delivered to absolute perfection.

And if its something from the Blag Dahlia co-produced ‘Hot Shame’ album (also available for just £10 on vinyl and £5 on CD folks) you are looking for, then there’s the Hives on steroids blitz that is ‘It’s A Mess’ plus the album’s equally excellent title track for you to shake your Sunday night tail feather to.

The only downer for me tonight was it was all over way too soon. The Atom Age really are a very special band indeed, flying just under the punk rock cool radar (which at the moment seems to be distracted by any band coming out of Australia) but just the same delivering total annihilation wherever they play.

Catch The Atom Age wherever you can… they are incredible!  

Author: Johnny Hayward

Anyone who can see further than the end of their nose will be aware that Mr Matlock’s musical output has been nothing short of outstanding. From his contribution to the Bollocks album right through the Rich Kids and into a very impressive solo output, Matlock has ended up raging against the machine, spouting sense on TV lately about our current government and crazy decisions and acts of self harm that have been manipulated into many people’s noggins that its the right thing to do.

Matlock has always seen the wood for the trees and has always been able to turn those views and beliefs into palatable music and performances. From ‘Good To Go’ or ‘Born Running’ he delivers excellent records whilst other former bandmates get the fanfare for delivering very little but not around the corridors of RPM Online we know the real deal and who delivers the goods.

This latest offering from Matlock kicks off quite literally with the spikey and right-on-the-money, ‘Head On A Stick’. Lyrically on point, and pulling no punches he’s kicking against the pricks and all power to him because he’s wrapped it up in a bloody good tune as well.

‘Consequences Coming’ is the sound of a man whos reaching the end of his tether with stupid people and stupid situations led by stupid people and I like it it works well for him and is bringing the best out of him that’s for sure. Coming out swinging the title track carries a strong melody with a great lyric. It would be easy for an artist like Glen Matlock to just say fuck it I’m alright Jack but the gap between his last record and this has fired him up (and rightly so).

The guitars are kept raw and the songs are rockin’. There is a swagger to this record Matlock knows he can write a tune when he wants to and ‘Magic Carpet Ride’ is a great example of this. He’s not reinventing the wheel here just rolling with it and writing excellent songs with it. The groove of ‘Speaking In Tongues’ works well as the band he’s assembled are delivering in spades. the curveball of adding a KD Lang cover mid album also works well as the record needed a change of gears and his vocal is excellent.

‘Step In The Right Direction’ is a handclapping stomper as more fuel is poured on the fire. ‘Something About The Weekend’ carried the torch with a really good rhythm showing you can make an angry album but still have a fuckin great time doing it. ‘Face In The Crowd’ introduces some power pop to proceedings which is something he’s always done. He can write a great melody and has surrounded himself with a band that can deliver his vision be it aggressive or a softer, more pop rock. A Glen Matlock delivers a record that covers a lot of bases both musically and lyrically and he always hits the mark, it’s not luck it’s judgment and class how he managed to make so many great records and this latest offering is going to be right up there with his best records. From the first few spins it resonated and as I’ve got more familiar with it it’s gotten better and better – damn he even does a slow dance doo wap in the shape of ‘Tried To Tell You’ and it wreaks of authentic 50s chops from the brush of the snare to the heart bleeding solo and best of all it doesn’t sound out of place on this record.

Leaving the final two cuts to be classic Matlock rockers ‘This Ship’ is cutting through choppy water with consummate ease and Matlock’s torch is burning as bright as it did the day he wrote Anarchy fifty years ago and I love that. Glen Matlock’s ‘Consequences Coming’ is a must-hear album. Buy it, play it, love it!

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author: Dom Daley

Half a century of Anarchy and Chaos and a bit of downtime as well to be fair, but in the main, The Damned have never let me down and when their output has been; shall we say less than palatable they’ve delivered live over and over and they’ve kept evolving and therefore keeping themselves relevant as they move into the twilight years disgracefully still making new music and hit or miss doing it their way and I love that about the band. A friend once described The Damned as his Beatles or Elvis and I totally got that because their my Rolling Stones as well God Bless them and all who sail under the Damned flag.

Anyway ‘Darkadelic’. Seemed to rise like a phoenix with the first couple of tracks leaked out into the ether with videos and like Marmite fans either loved it or loathed it there can be no in-between it would seem. The recent tour they’ve undertaken was punctured mid-set with the whole album played in its entirety and for some it was unwelcome and for others (like me) it was most welcome (let’s be honest here whilst its always nice to hear New Rose and Smash it up I want to hear new songs especially if they are decent and that’s where I have to begin these songs are indeed pretty bloody decent).

This is not The Damned who released ‘Machine Gun Etiquette those days are gone – time moves on and that is their past neither is it The Damned who hit paydirt during the MCA years of lift music and if I’m honest I didn’t much like the last studio outing either but this is a more focussed record, a more energetic record and the songs stand tall and have plenty of punch that was certainly missing off the last release. These guys don’t sound like men who should be on their allotments rather than making a racket in Acton studios weaving their Gothic, psychedelic ditties that have melody and relevance in the year 2023.

Starting with the mid-paced ‘Invisible Man’ is Vanian rolling back the years and delivering a masterclass in Gothic vocal and melodies that is instantly recognisable whilst Sensible again shows he has the chops that he probably doesn’t get enough credit for as far as openers go this one is strong.

One of the songs that worked best on the recent live shows was the energetic ‘Bad Weather Girl’ where a Sensible vocal works best and the swirling keys add atmosphere to a top tune punctuated by that unbelievably hypnotic flurry of bass notes courtesy of the maestro Paul Gray as the song weaves its course through some impressive soloing from the Captain. To follow it up with the riff-heavy ‘You’re Gonna Realise’ with its sumptuous chorus that changes gears in a classic Vanian way and the trinity of Sensible Riffola meets Gray’s thump topped off with Vanians ear for a twisted melody is majestic.

Next up is the Damned doing their best political commentary on ‘Beware Of The Clown’ built around another impressive chop from Mr Sensibles six-string as Gray weaves in between the strokes. There is more than enough dirt being spat from the speakers as Vanian strokes your ears with his lush deep tones.

So far so good, I hope we’re all sitting comfortable and used the bathroom as ‘Western Promise’ has a ‘Black Album’ meets ‘Phantasmagoria’ feel to it. Another excellent vocal for Vanian. That Gothic haunting style the band do so well jostles to be heard on ‘Wake The Dead’ and half way through this record and I’m quietly impressed so far. This record is instantly gratifying and also slow burning therefore messing with my reviewers ear. I’m waiting for the next one to maybe hit the buffers but its not happening and there is a little voice inside my old head screaming at me, “this si why I love the Damned” they deliver the good when I wasn’t expecting it and thus far in there is no filler only songs that are taking me to various places through their career and dumping me in the here and now 2023 The Damned are churning out excellent songs on an excellent album and I love it.

‘Follow Me’ is a bonafide garage rock stonker. Then, follows that with the barking rabid dog that is ‘Motorcycle Man’ and give to give Monty his props he fingers a mean swirling Garage organ (oo-er Mrs) throughout and it’s not overpowering but sympathetic to the songs and works a treat adding another texture to the most welcome guitar heavy songs. ‘From Your Lips’ lays back as the penultimate offering is lowering the heart rate with yet more sweet solos that elevate already impressive songs.

Finally we reach the end and ‘Roderick’ sees Vanian get his brushes out to paint one last gothinc masterpiece, his tongue firmly in his cheek for a candlelit finale of epic, not too overstated grandiousity that only the Damned can get away with and once again Vanains vocals deliver sounding like a man half his age. since James left Vanain moved forward from the shadows and grew into his role and has spent the last 30 years showing why he is at the top of his trade and has no equal, a masterclass of dark arts and velvet smooth tones a great twist at the end of a very impressive album.

It’s been a crazy half-a-century journey for Vanian and Sensible and all who sail on the good ship Damned. If this is to be their last studio recording then they’ve delivered a smouldering, punchy masterclass, at times sensitive others astute and always on their terms. God I love the Damned and ‘Darkadelic’ is a welcome release into a catalogue that has more ups than downs as well as a smattering of magic moments that haven’t been equalled by anyone. It once again shows how bloody good they are at their chosen craft. Long Live The Damned and their Darkadelic brilliance.

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Pop punk from Oakland California. Now where have we heard that one before? Sure it’s the home of all things Gilman Street and some. From little acorns and all that, those punks took over the music world for a period and still hold a sizable fond spot in the hearts of millions so it’s always gonna be tough to come out of that very same scene and not be compared to what went before you. Anyway, Adventure Playground might well come from that spot on this spinning rock and they certainly play their version of punk pop with brash guitars and sunshine and heartfelt melodies.

Bay Areas, Adventure Playground became fast friends at music summer camp in Cazadero, CA. After graduating high school the group spent the next 10 years spread out around the country honing their craft. Opener ‘Alright Already’ is a rapid, clanging danceable slice of abrasive punk rock with a strong melody and some sharp playing they clearly arent your johnny come lately punk kids.

It’s a very American-sounding record and the vocals and a lot of the bass lines remind me of Anti Flag which is a good place to be for this style of punk rock. Saying that ‘He Said She Said’ reminds me of vintage Blink 182. Is there a genre called jazz pop punk? well, there is now as the ‘Fried Fish Junk’ is a blitzkrieg of jazzy punk, not getting it? play it and come back to me. ‘Living On Sunshine’ sounds like it should with big open space riffs and a huge grinning melody. It sure is pop punk but there’s a lot more going on here with the jazzy exerts and the big ballad-like rock of ‘Walking Away’ followed by the haunting ‘The Ballad Of Russell Rose And His Trusty Steed’ but wait halfway through it breaks out into a romp to the finish line. leaving just ‘New Plan(et)’ to sign off this nine-track debut.

I’m sure live theres plenty of goofing around on stage but these guys can play and they put every ounce into these songs. Pop punk with a twist is something that lights your fire then Adventure Playground is a band you should fully invest in.

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Ah ‘The Decca Years’, It’s the first time on vinyl (other than the picture disc version), Finally Sparrers Decca years gets it’s dues.

Thanks to Cherry Red Records you can now add this fantastic record to your collection. Fourteen tracks pressed on black vinyl for the first time it features everything seminal Oi! band Cock Sparrer recorded during their time with Decca Records in the late 70s. Bosh!

Of course, it’s therefore crammed with classic live favourites, ‘Runnin’ Riot’ and ‘We Love You’ plus ‘Sunday Stripper’. It’s in great company here rather than just buried on the legendary ‘Oi! The Album back in the day. still revered as the go-to scene compilation and is often fondly talked about in punk rock circles because of the inclusion of songs as good as ‘Sunday Stripper’.

As with many Sparrer records this one is limited, so if you snooze you will lose. To draw you in, this version comes in a splendid gatefold sleeve complete with an inner picture collage and stacks of memorabilia from the era. Current guitarist Daryl Smith has overseen the artwork layout and therefore it has the authenticity it deserves from inside team Cock Sparrer. It adds to the release and you’ll love it when pouring over the pictures as the album blasts out of your speakers.

It’s hard to believe it was the bands 50th Anniversary recently and many of the tracks featured on this compilation are still the staples of their current live set and stand tall alongside more recent tunes.

‘Running Riot’ is a great opener and the aggressive punch of ‘Chip On My Shoulder’ sounds exactly as the title suggests. If you are new to Cock Sparrer then this is the perfect place to start your journey down that rabbit hole From the snarl in McFaulls vocals to the rawness of the riff, culminating in the solo that hacks and slashes, it’s such a great song. There is no chink in the armour of Decca era Cock Sparrer, not for a single seccond does the energy drop, nor does the quality of songwriting, Mixing punk rock with hard rock wasn’t easy back in the 70s but Cock Sparrer used their influences when songwriting from the hard rock of ‘Platinum Blonde’ and the twin guitar duelling to the amped up charge of ‘Teenage Heart’ these songs are simply brilliant and to say that after 50 years is not to be sniffed at. There aren’t many artists who can claim to have written songs that still sound fresh after four decades.

Had Slade or Thin Lizzy boogie Woogie like ‘I Need A Witness’ people would have championed it for many years no doubt about it. That’s not even going near the classics like ‘Sunday Stripper’ that had someone like Steve Marriott penned it would be huge, I kid you not but these influences are all in these songs even the snottier punk songs.

When you get to ‘What’s It Like To Be Old’ you can smile back and say it’s alright to be fair, even if I’ve waited this long to get these on one LP in their original state this old lark has such a great soundtrack. The Decca Years is an essential purchase for anyone who loves guitar-based Rock n’ Roll exactly how it should sound. But take my word for it you’ll have to be quick because these will be snapped up sharpish. Lace-up those Doc Martins and get a sprint on – this will sell out. Buy It!

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Author: Dom Daley

After 16 years of curb crawling around Europe’s worst dive bars, The Hip Priests continue their stumble to world domination by unleashing “Roden House Blues” – album number six if you’re counting on both hands – and it’s a banger !!!

The press release tells me “Roden House Blues” consists of 11 low-fat, lean and mean banging tunes, and is a must listen for any fan of high-octane garage punk’n’roll and it ain’t wrong. After a few blasts of this 30-minute brain boiler, I’m sold and let me tell you, it may just beat “Black Denim Blitz” to the top of The Hip Priest pile.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, so let’s take 11 steps back and I’ll take you on a pleasure (booze) cruise through “Roden House Blues”, blow my mutha fuckin’ blow….

“Trojan Horseshit” is first out of the traps in all its puntastic, blast beat glory and let me tell you it’s a full on, no holds barred, fist pumping, head banging chokehold of filth and fury.

Next up, “Inaction Rocks” takes us to more familiar Priests territory but it’s not a safe place to be. Anger is still the order of the day.

Instant classic “Shakin’ ain’t Fakin’“takes up third spot, with a hook you could catch sharks on. The Priests in all their poptastic glory – I love it, you’ll love it, and the world should love it too. Check out the video, share the link and give your friends (and enemies) a treat.

“Pissed on Power” has the unenviable task of sitting between “Shakin’….” and the albums other stratospheric masterpiece “Can’t abide with me” but here it stands middle finger in the air and what it lacks in sugar it makes up for in spite.

I seem the have already hyped the next tune, but lock down classic “Can’t abide with me” deserves all the praise and more. Voted the albums most likely tune to get your toe tapping and brain thinking, check out the video and deliberate no further; pre-order the bastard now!!!

I must admit that “Chasing Death” scrambled my head a little bit when I first heard it. Despite the slinky posh promo video, it took me until hearing it in context of “Roden House Blues’” ten other tunes to get my blood pumping. Check out the video and question my sanity.

The funky “space invader” intro to “Sell my Soul” may throw your brain one way but I’d have raised the bar even further and wrapped it up in a ton of brass. Cool tune in tough company.

“Just to get by” takes things in a slightly more Hellacopters direction, a nice break in the ferocity while keeping the bile level at maximum.

“Persistence is Futile” also lends from the book of ‘copters but blends it into a perfect Priests cocktail. Certainly, one of my top tunes, with the breathing space to give the dynamic duo of Oz and Ben room to display their magic guitar wankery.

Penultimate track “Tiger in my Tank” is pure priests. Everything you want or will ever need in one place for two and a half minutes. Top tune!

So here we are at the end of the show and “The Best Revenge” does what it says on the tin. An anti-manifesto, a middle finger salute, or whatever you want to call it – it’s the polish on the turd, and great way to say thank you, fuck you and goodbye!

“Roden House Blues” is unleashed on May the 5th so grab it on record, old school CD or via all child friendly streaming platforms, and as the press blurb politely advises “Play Loud or just don’t fuckin’ bother”.

Buy the record Here

Author: Fraser Munro

Find ‘em here – https://www.thehippriests.com/

Buy shit ‘ere – https://thehippriests1.bandcamp.com/merch

Join the cult ‘ere – https://www.facebook.com/thehippriests/

For fans of The Hellacopters, Gluecifer, The Good the Bad and the Zugly, New Bomb Turks, Dwarves and Zeke.

Longserving Australian psych-rockers THE CHURCH have signed with UK label Easy Action Records.

The new partnership will see a UK and European release for the band’s brand new full-length The Hypnogogue. Recorded just prior to the Covid pandemic, the album is the band’s first new studio album in six years and the first to feature the newest line-up of founder, bassist and vocalist Steve Kilbey, drummer Tim Powles, guitarists Ian Haug and Ashley Naylor, and multi-instrumentalist Jeffrey Cain.

Easy Action are also going to give their back catalogue a physical release as wel as some digital only releases which will excite fans.

The Hypnogogue’ is the twenty-seventh release which in itself is an incredable achievement in itself from any band and shows how prolific writers they are.

Often seen as the originals of Australian psych which has spread all across the globe influencing Tame Impala and King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard, The Church have gone on to maintain a loyal and fanbase and thats set to go further as they evolving their sound in 2023.

This albums opens with a dreamy ‘Ascendance’ that builds and changes shape almost like a camelelion with a haunting ebow ebbing and flowing. ‘C’est La Vie’ is a dark pop song with ringing guitars. The record swirls and glides in places with lovely toned guitars and keys making way for poingient vocals.

Spread over thirteen songs its a very confident sounding record where the band seem in a great place and its th esound of a band enjoying their work. The darker Bowie like ‘Flickering Lights’ is sparse and brooding almost five minutes stroll.

The title track is a momoth six minutes of cinemascope psych rock very understated and atmospheric. Its a long record and one that will please existing fans and new ones looking for something just outside the box but mature in design but full of good songwriting and the performance is as youd expect, excellent.

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After the debacle of his last long player, we worried that he would hang up his studded codpiece and mask and say fuck it and head off into the desert and look for other life forms on planets far far away but alas he’s back in the saddle and shooting from his hip with his usual caustic, amusing controvercial punk rock songs that are instantly loveable and instantly burrowing into your ear heading straight for your brain and the part that likes nice things.

Still banned from venues all over this spinning rock and Interpol reportedly has an ongoing warrant out for his immediate arrest on undisclosed charges. He rarely appears in public and very few have seen him without a mask. There have been numerous reports of Hewho impersonators spotted all over the world, especially when The Dwarves play live shows. It has even been suggested that He Who Cannot Be Named does not really and is merely a rock legend. Perhaps Hewho himself is an imposter. We will probably never know for sure. but this latest album is working off the real deal, not an Imposter these songs couldn’t possibly have been written by someone else and neither would anyone attempt to perform instead of him. Imagine the life lived inside that mask FFS only one man could be depraved enough to put it on and do what he does night after night and its also a fact he records wearing nothing more than the mask and his unwashed codpiece its what drives him on to write and perform such classics as those that appear on this here album.

I think it fair to say early doors that this is easily my favourite HeWho solo album every song is classic HeWho with some just shading it for one reason or another like the suitable un PC ‘Proud Girl’ Hot for Hitler ffs, HeWho is gonna be cancelled. Anyway, Let’s wind back to the top and the opening one or two of ‘Funny Farm’ then straight into hypertension that is ‘Panic Attack’ pure Hewho and I love it.

C’mon you know how this is gonna unfurl from those Beach Boys meets the Dwarves melodies like ‘Happy Unhappy’ backed by multi layered gang vocals and some fuzzed up guitar over a skippy back beat – Joyous!

This one is fourteen tracks that fly by in double quick time – if you don’t like it then I feel sorry for you the lyrics are cheeky and often funny but after a bit of digging really clever. ‘The Thing’ has the Motorhead break down over a Ramones verse chorus verse chorus solo chorus end -genius. If you’re after a howling good time listening to punk rock with melodies and hooks galore with pop sensible choruses all wrapped up with a sense of humour then this album is right up your strasse baby get on it without delay – Beluga – ghost Highway and Spaghetty Town will do you a dirty deal and get this bad boy out to you with love and care because they also know how fuckin good this record is.

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Author: Dom Daley

For some years now Diverse Vinyl in Newport have been putting together a day of free live music within the city centred around Record Store Day. This year though, seemingly sick of working through the whirlwind that is the retail event of the year for many a record shop and then running an 8 hour live event, the promotor (take a bow Matt Jarrett) and venues involved (take a bow Le Pub and McCann’s) have moved this live music element forward by a week, so everyone can enjoy the show without being totally exhausted.

In saying this though, between us, me and my RPM gig going amigo Nev Brooks still can’t quite muster up the superhero power known as “standing up for the full show”, so instead, we descend on Le Pub about halfway through the event, just in time to catch Pigeon Wigs, who were also coincidentally the first band I saw post the UK coming out of Covid lockdowns.

Back in 2021 I predicted that the Cardiff based band showed all the signs of following in the footsteps of Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard and possibly ink themselves a major deal due to them playing a mesmerising mix of powerpop and fuzzy guitar driven rock ‘n’ roll. Instead (for now at least), they have  signed with Clwb Music and are just about to launch their new single ‘Hold Up’ (which gets played four songs in tonight) into the multiverse, and to be honest not a lot else has changed, other than they appear to be a keyboard player short tonight. Pigeon Wigs still have this immediate likeable swagger about them and songs like ‘Paper Tiger’ really are custom built for venues much larger than Le Pub, catch them in one such sized venue while you still can.  

I’ll say exactly the same thing too for Hastings based trio HotWax, who are up next in The Pit at McCann’s, simply because this is one amazing band in the making if ever there was one. Fusing Polly Jean Harvey’s skills within the musical dark arts with the overdriven thrust of Kat Bjelland’s Katastrophy Wife (thank you for that reference point, Mr Brooks) HotWax duck and dive around their short and not so sweet set like battle hardened grunge prize-fighters, yet they still retain the nativity of a band just out of school, a quality that immediately drags you in. Upcoming single ‘A Thousand Times’ is a classic example of how to bend and twist the song writing formula the HotWax way, whilst in ‘Barbie’ HotWax possibly have their very own scent of teen spirit ready and waiting to be bottled up for the masses. Don’t believe me, then just ask Legendary TJ’s promotor Simon Phillips who I spotted out of the corner of my eye whooping and slapping one of the basement walls mid-set as a show of support. Who was it again he promoted back in the day? Yeah, pretty much everyone.

It’s outside we go next to sample the fresh Newport night air along with about a hundred other hardy souls as Fashion Weak take to the makeshift stage situated between Le Pub and McCann’s to deliver, what turns out to be, a masterclass in avantgarde electro pop. Dubbing themselves the new wave of synth wave, what Fashion Weak actually are is yet another glorious musical left turn within a genre than seems to be throwing out great bands at an alarming rate right now. In frontman John MOuse you not only have someone brave enough to play part of tonight’s outdoor gig topless, but also dance around like an off his nut Dave Gahan, whilst delivering acerbic vocal lines (like the absolute classic ‘Eighteen Percent Of Swansea’…haven’t worked in the DVLA) over what can only be described as a Spagna goes Krautrock soundtrack. All making for one unique live experience indeed. Go see them on their ongoing UK tour and I dare you not to be dancing by the end of the first song.

We descend back into the white-hot underbelly of McCann’s just in time to see Shlug’s frontman rip off his vintage 1990s Cardiff City top and prepare to take us on a musical trip heavily influenced by the tail end of that exact same decade, and especially (I would say) by fellow Cardiff formed band Mclusky. Shlug are what some would term post-hardcore and as a result they have a tendency to be as noisy as hell (The Pit’s system crackling with the low end of their primal sound) and this proves all too much for one gig goer near me who shouts “fuck this” just a minute or so into their first song, and duly stomps their back up the stairs to the safe space of the bar, and that right there pretty much sums up Shlug’s musical appeal. They’re the type of band you’ll hate to love, just like Cardiff City I suppose. (What’s the chances RPM’s editor in chief will add some witty remark here eh?) *(Ed; I though of one at the double but decided against it)*

And so we come to tonight’s headliner Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires, who just like Pigeon Wigs before them now appear in a slightly more streamlined format, as a trio, but what a musical tour de force this trio is.

Kicking this off in manic feedback drenched style with a 1-2-3-4 attack of ‘Sweet Disorder’ the pumped-up opener leaves anyone thinking that Lee is all about country music with an immediate bloody nose. No brothers and sisters this is all about the heart and soul of rock and roll music and if anything given the frontman’s proclivity to engage in lengthy politically charged spoken word introductions to most of his songs, if anything, it’s probably more punk rock than most punk rock bands these days.

I’ll admit that I’d struggled to get into with The Glory Fires slightly more relaxed 2022 album ‘Old Time Folks’ but here in the live setting tracks like ‘Lizard People’, ‘Outlaws’ and the superb ‘(In Remembrance Of The) 40 Hour Week’ all crackle with a truly soulful undertone largely due to Lee’s huge vocal performance (he justifiably sounds slightly croaky when I get a chance for a quick chat post gig) and he looks like he’s loving every second of finally getting the chance to play these songs live post pandemic.

Of the older tunes aired ‘The Company Man’ from 2014’s ‘Dereconstructed’ album has never sounded more relevant whilst set closer ‘Good Old Boy’ from 2017’s ‘Youth Detention’ not only brings the set back around full circle but also sees Lee joining his adoring fans to share the vocal refrain as his guitar strings get shred in the ensuing frenzy, and just like that it’s all over.

What makes Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires live shows so essential is the fact that they not only hit the mark musically but also on a personal level, and one such moment tonight evolves during Lee’s between song diatribe regarding how the UK made film Pride had been synonymous in galvanising the spirit of striking Alabaman miners during their two year struggle, which is enough to move even the toughest of us.    

A truly magical performance then, topping off a great (and very eclectic) line up of bands. So, let’s hope that it really isn’t (as rumoured) the last of these events, as tonight Newport’s rich musical legacy once again burned very brightly indeed. Long may it continue….

Author: Johnny Hayward