First up on this first Tuesday in April 2023 is York/Leeds band “The Black Skies” are about to release their third single in 12 months with the help of NMG and co-producer George Shilling (Oasis/Primal Scream). They have a new single which was released on 30th via streaming services. This time they have chosen to release a cover of the Nina Simone classic “Felling Good” featuring American Outlaw/Scumbag Country band Hellbound Glory (Shooter Jennings American Label).


We’ve reviewed Local Drags before be it the records or digital only downloads this one man band sure does know how to pen absolute killer power pop new wave, grungy classics and instant classics at that. There is no time to let them disolve into your brain (but they will) these are fizzy pop catch the bubbles before they’re gone power pop. I’ve probably said it before but this guy is a genius and his records should be familiar to the cool kids all around this spinning rock we dwell on.

this time out its ten songs all dripping with class from the opening feedback and white noise of ‘Keep An Eye’ with its distant piano/voice intro before the drums and electric guitar crash in. The melody is killer (of course it is) the chorus will have you throwing yourself around as you remember what it was that made you fall in love with alternative music.

As ‘Heard About It’ crashes in I’m thumbing through my collection looking for the classic albums I feel inspired to play after this one has finished. From Buffalo Tom to the Lemonheads to some Neil Young, Redd Kross and Replacements all via Teenage Fanclub at their peek.

It’s all about the song, not the singer and the pedal steel wheeze of ‘Call You A Baby’ this is such a joy to play especially loudly. ‘Good For Nothing’ is a mellow acoustic number with some 70s stylings and a real earworm. They remind me a little of The Speedways from the UK less Ramones and 50s pop-influenced but the alt American version but both pen great guitar-driven pop songs.

The acoustic is out again for ‘Cheap Rates’ and the Teenage Fanclub vibe bubbles to the top. Kicking back or rockin out I’m not bothered either way, Local Drags write big sweeping guitar pop/rock songs and I love ’em. Right up to the final cut of ‘Better Now’ those big crashing chords sign yet another triumph of songwriting excellence and if you take the time to dive in you will reap the rewards over and over and when you’ve delved into the catalogue of previous releases my work here is done. Get involved and get down with Locla Drags because ‘Mess Of Everything’ is all killer and no filler. Buy It!

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Author: Dom Daley

Bob Vylan – ‘The Delicate Nature’ (Bandcamp) Heres a new remix that Bob played at his recent London show. God knows living on Shit Island we could all do with a pick me up and a cheeky smile here and there so why not turn it up and bounce around to this one. Bob had this to say abotu why this release –“When we played this remix at the end of our London headline show last year and the crowd was dancing and smiling I knew we had to share it with everybody. I love UK Garage and it’s ability to bring instant joy and movement to all that hear it. Enjoy – Love Bobby”

Chuck Norris Experiment – ‘Way Out Of Your League’ (Ghost Highway Records) What a banger this is. Great hook and some big rock from CNE. Something of an anthem the first track is a big guitar lick lapping around a catchy simple sing-a-long rocker. With guitar breaks galore from one of the finest exports outta Sweden. they also take on a suprise cover of Eagles ‘Trying’ and own it with an impressive vocal from Chuck Ransom with an impressive Screaaaam!

The also include a third song adding value for money with a punked up ‘Landslide’ complete with handclaps and a rollocking tempo The Chuck Norris Experiment never dissapoint. Buy it!

Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard – ‘Chew’ (Self Release) this is what Buzzard x 3 do best, sumptous harmonies with a dirty guitar lick all wrapped up in some dreamy twisted story. Lean in kids you need to hear this one. Whammo! rockin! ave it! Mad as a box of frogs but we love it! the Buzzard rock out with their lovely scary doggie – nice

V2 – ‘Johnny Rocco’ (Still Unbeatable Records) Hailing from Manchester but releasing on German label Still Unbeatable the catchy chorus of the rapid and jagged guitar-driven slice of punk rock old school style ‘Johnny Rocco’. it’s a bit of a banger and tells the tale of a larger-than-life character from Manchester. it ends as abruptly as it starts but for three minutes it’s a pure adrenaline blast – love it! Backed by the equally good ‘Car Crash’ that has the feel of a long lost UK Subs banger. an excellent single packaged and performed just how a 45 should.

The Empty Page – ‘Level Sedentary’ (Bandcamp) Manchesters’ finest exponents of alternative rock the Empty page recently dropped this subtle earworm that perfectly mixes some Sonic Youth with a bit of Pvement for a gentle roar about staying in. Maybe out of step and out of time, The Empty Page does this alt-rock as good as their heroes ever did and this is possibly their best offering to date as they get to grips with who and what they are and knock this one right out of the park.

Anyone who follows Kel on social media can see how in love with music and how it comes about can tell you her positivity in infectious as is her music – This an excellent insight into what’s coming on their new album and on this evidence it’s going to be a bloody marvellous listen – get on it!

It Man – ‘White Head’ (Sore Records) In a moving tribute new band IT MAN made a statement on their social media this week ahead of the release of debut single ‘White Heat’, which reads as follows,

“After much thought and consideration, we have decided that we will no longer perform or release music as The Jacques. Since the formation of the band 8 years ago, our line-up has changed, sometimes amicably but also in ways beyond our control. Four years ago, we lost our best friend and bassist Will. We had just completed our debut album ‘The Four Five Three’ after spending our early 20s living and touring together. These are precious memories of ours and we are grateful for all of the friendship, support and love we have received over the years. We are currently finishing an album that we feel marks a departure from our previous musical direction. It is for that reason that we have agreed to be known by a different name moving forward. Thank you all for your continued support.

‘White Heat’ was recorded by the legendary The Strokes producer Gordon Raphael and its a catchy little earworm bumbling along with its rolling melody and sumemry vibe its a fantastic slice of guitar pop.

Malibu Lou And The Attackers – ‘Teenage Kicks’ (Rum Bar Records) Its a classic IT’ll never ever be beaten by anyone taking it on but whilst its a sacred tune those who do honour it with a rendition have to do it with heart and soul and be able to understand it and have it in their heart beating in time with the rhythm. Malibu Lou just gets it. He is in tune with the spirit of such a great track and delivers a most respectful version. Hit it up on bandcamp and whilst your there check out some of the released Lou has put out. The man bleeds rock n roll and thats why he can do ‘Teenage Kicks’ in one take and make it sound like he wrote the bloody thing. Go get it!

Apotropaico – ‘Trapped’ Spanish thrashers Apotropaico have unleashed a lovely little ditty called Trapped and I bloody love it! Using a blend of old school Metallica, Exodus, Megadeth and Slayer the lads have a winning formula. You know when you start nodding along after only a few bars? Yeah, that. It really roped me in from the start.

Crunchy guitars, bright bass tones, clicky bass drums and barking vocals make for a great few minutes of metal. The artwork is brilliant too depicting an old school thrasher/skater dude trying to escape from a prison cell. I look forward to hearing more from Apotropaico. If, like me you love this kinda stuff, be sure to check this out. Mosh it up! Reviewed by Kenny Kendrick

Lucky Thief – ‘Silencer’ (Self Release) Silencer is the first single from the Debut Album coming out in August from the Bristol based multi-instrumentalist. Its a big Rolling riff and quite the statement for a debut single. Mixing elaments of grunge with big rock all done with attitude. The album is comign late summer and it promises to be quite the statement on this evidence.

The outro reminds me of Soundgarden and is a bit of a basher with that big riff being front and centre.

Tape Trash – ‘TT4 Ever’ (Banditt Media) TAPE TRASH is the new project of Anders Magnor Killerud (Ludvig Moon, Kyss På Halsen, Team Me) and Kristofer Mathias Staxrud (Spielbergs, Hilma Nikolaisen, Ludvig Moon). Indie rock incorporates infectious choruses, catchy jagged guitar riffs and big drums. Leaning on American alt-rock like Husker Du and the Pixies it isn’t a bad place to find yourself. This is the latest offering off their debut album set for release later this month.

Hard-hitting rock ‘n’ roll veteran Pete Berwick has come storming into 2023 with a real no-holds-barred, punch-in-the-gut record. Despite having no previous intentions to make a new album, Berwick reportedly followed up an opportunity he simple couldn’t refuse and stepped into the studio with Charlie Bonnet III (who also plays guitars here) to produce this unapologetic barnstormer and slam it right in our faces.

‘The Damage is Done’ treads quite a different road to its predecessor ‘Island’, released in 2019, and sees Berwick returning triumphantly to his harder side – and then some.

From the rip-roaring opener of ‘She Ain’t Got Me’, it’s quite clear where Berwick’s focus is in making this record – it’s a fast and fierce fuck you, and it’s glorious. The dogged songwriter retains his witticisms and endearing self-deprecation, but it’s all served here with a huge sneering slice of scorn. From the “maggots crawling on my coat” in ‘Finger Down My Throat’ to the gang vocals of ‘You’ll Get Used to It’ or the shotgun blast of title track ‘The Damage is Done’, the album is teeming with grit and determination.

There are two sides to Berwick’s music, and of course this album is not without it’s accomplished acoustic offerings in songs such as the beautifully nostalgic ‘Timeclock on the Wall’, or the sing-along of ‘Ghost Tears’, a song fit for a slow dance at any demented high-school disco. Yet it’s the snarl of offerings like ‘There You Go Again’ that give the album its identity.

A sweet version of Charlie Bonnet III’s ‘Haunted Heart’ is included before ‘Fool in Love’ plays out the record in magnificently fun fashion with a groove that will lead you right back to the beginning of the album to do it all again.

Author: Craggy Collyde

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You might well be asking me who the fuck are Punter? It’s a good question and one I can only answer by saying I was sifting through Bandcamp one night (early hours) sober I might add and came across this Australian punk band who sounded like they didn’t compromise one iota and they kicked my eardrums into next week so I ordered the record from the good folk at Drunken Sailor. Who incidentally don’t do bad releases so I knew my bruised eardrums were in good hands so to speak.

Punter hail from Melbourne and their brand of noise are thrillingly intense. They describe themselves as a hardcore band described as a rock band’ and that’s it, in a nutshell, sure they have the rough edges of hardcore but the solo and dexterity of a rock band as they effortlessly slide from one to the other perfectly all whilst raising your blood pressure via some edgy tempos. It’s in your face like hardcore and I can feel the breath of the frontman.

They described themselves as three sick cunts from Melbourne which is nice. what you hear on this exciting album is songs that tackle boredom, stress, fear, youth, death, grief, change, and class politics, all set against the backdrop of the emerging global technocracy, blasted at you from the Aussie suburbs, not least of all Melbourne, the most locked-down city on the planet during the time of writing and recording.

Its short sharp fast exhillarating but most of all fuckin ace and that my friends is why you should at least give these three cunts the time of day. Zero bullshit taken and zero fucks given ladies and gents I give you Punter. Ave It!

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Author: Dom Daley

Being a member of the biggest touring rock band on the planet is a great job if you can get it, but I’m sure it drags at times and maybe certain band members yearn for small sweaty clubs, actually making eye contact up close with an audience and maybe even having to fight for that applause each night.

Chris Shiflett has played guitar in the Foo Fighters for over 20 years now, but he has other things on the go too. Not only has he banged out a bunch of records with Me First & The Gimme Gimmes, but he also has a couple of bad-ass solo albums exploring his country/americana roots.

Riding on stonking new single ‘Black Top White Lines’ from his upcoming 3rd long player, Chris and his band head out on a six date UK tour of intimate venues, stopping off at my favourite venue the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds.

There is nothing better than discovering a great new band live when you are least expecting it, and I rarely research support bands before a gig for that very reason. Dea Matrona are a 3-piece band from Northern Ireland led by Mollie McGinn and Orlaith Forsythe and they have the biggest smiles on their faces tonight.

I guess you could categorise their sound as classic rock with pop leanings. The pair both play guitar and bass, switching instruments between songs, their vocal harmonies are spot on, and the energetic duo pull all the cool rock poses they learnt in their bedrooms watching Zep and Fleetwood Mac videos.

The songs are good too, ‘Stamp On It’ is very commercial, instant with a pumping bass groove, the sultry vocals delivered with voices that sound way beyond their years. The acoustic led ‘Glory Glory (I Am Free)’ is simply stunning. A definite Fleetwood Mac/The Pierces feel that gets everyone’s attention in the room, and I swear you could hear a pin drop for the entirety.

There’s a cheeky Irish charm to the duo, years of hard graft busking the streets of Dublin have paid off and of course playing to a sold-out crowd surely helps, but Dea Matrona were very impressive tonight. Touring the UK through May they are surely ones to watch in 2023.

It’s a sold-out show tonight and there are a lot of Foo Fighters shirts and tattoos on display, but anyone who has come expecting a Foo Fighters song or two will be disappointed. This band isn’t about Chris Shiflett’s day job, this is honky-tonk, low-down countrified americana, best played in bars and clubs and its perfect, utterly perfect.

“I had a feeling this was gonna be a good one” remarks Chris as he tunes up after delivering a salvo of high energy, countrified rock n’ roll. Yes, there is something about this venue that brings out the best in any artist, and tonight is a great example.

Chris, bassist Fox Fagan and drummer Robert Jolly are tight as a duck’s ass and the songs are short, sharp and bloody good. Opening one-two ‘Sticks & Stones’ and ‘Liar’s Word’ sound awesome. The sound is magnificent, the telecaster tone to die for and the crackling energy is classic of the Brudenell.

The 90-minute set covers Chris’ two solo albums ‘Hard Lessons’ and ‘West Coast Town’, new tracks from his unreleased 3rd album and a couple of choice covers thrown in for good measure.

Free of the confines of the Foo’s stadium juggernaut, Chris is chatty, funny and engaging between songs. He tells us of his newfound love of Greggs chicken bakes and his hunt today in Leeds for football shorts while winding up Leeds fans (he is an avid Arsenal fan). It all adds to the feeling of camaraderie the band exudes, but tonight is really all about the songs.

Set highlights for me go to recent singles ‘Black Top White Lines’ and the emphatic ‘Long Long Year’, the yearning country vibes of ‘Blow Out The Candles’ and ‘Room 102’ both sounding like they are lifted straight from the Smokey & The Bandit soundtrack.

There are a few newbies I don’t recall the titles of, but the reggae-tinged ‘Damage Control’ was a standout for sure, Chris even encouraging the audience to film and upload it to socials so they could steal footage to make a video for the next single.

A 3-song encore includeded Mearl Haggard’s ‘Working Man Blues’ and a mighty fine cover of Hank Williams Jnr’s ‘Family Tradition’ with added audience participation,  glorious set closer ‘West Coast Town’ wraps things up nicely.

The fact that this highly enjoyable 21 song set was over in what seemed like a flash is testament to the songs and the delivery of the band tonight. High energy, countrified rock n’ roll has never felt so good.

If this band travels your way, do not miss em! Chris Shiflett and his band just set the marker for gig of the year, who has the minerals to take up the challenge?

Author: Ben Hughes