Canadian Label Yeah Right Records have put together a pretty impressive compilation album to download and today is the last chance to download it as they’re tallying up the proceeds to send off to the charity so don’t hesitate.
There’s a common saying that goes back centuries which states that evil prevails when good people do nothing. We’re witnessing the culmination of years of outrage at a lack of justice as it spills out into the city streets. Things have to change. We stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, and we step aside so that their voice may be more clearly heard.
Cover art features an iconic image of Tommie Smith from the 1968 Olympic Games, raising a black-gloved fist on the medal podium while receiving his gold medal for the 200 metre dash.
If you want a few pretty good rock and roll reasons to dig deep then let’s not shy away from 31 bands from 15 cities, each artist appears courtesy of themselves. The exclusive songs on offer like the Awesome Black Halos demo of ‘For You’ or The Streetwalkin Cheetahs who bring ‘Scorpio Rising’ now if that’s not enough reason to part with $7 I don’t know what is. But hold your horses because there’s more Sick Things add some much-needed cowbell with ‘You Know It Aint Right’. But wait the excellent ancient Shapes rock up with ‘Separation Anxiety’.
Christ, Red Army are on here as well as Tricky Woo damn this might just be one of the best compilation albums ever never mind this year. Dboy and The Spitfires have entries as well haha! I’m laughing as I think its a steal at such a low buy-in as you get so much bang for your buck and it would be remiss of me to not let you know that Biters are on here as well as the super sleazy rock and roll bubblegum rock of Midnight Towers.
There’s a whole host of new bands on me as well that now need investigating and if they’re on a comp as good as this and a label as cool as Yeah Right then I’d be pretty fuckin stupid to not check em out. Don’t delay folks as this supports a great cause which is really the main thrust of it but to get this much cool music is a bonus.
Never stop fighting good causes and a huge amount of kudos to all the bands and the label for getting behind this. Rock for good causes kids you know it makes sense.
“October The trees are stripped bare of all they wear but what do I care”
We’re building up a head of steam as RPM goes live and one of the first thing Craggy does is pick up the cowpunk noisemakers Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band and their ‘Poor Until Payday’ album (Oh yeah the one he didn’t review) That aside October saw Fraser jet off to warmer climates before chasing the Damned around the country and flying to Holland for Helldorado. But more of that later.
Several of us bought ‘Speed’ no not the drug but the fantastic new album from Swedish action rockers Scumbag Millionaires it is a thoroughbred non-stop wall of noise a turbocharged ride of exciting punked up Rock n Fuckin’ Roll and it deservedly got a rave review round here.
Whilst we’re on the subject of new records it seemed pretty much everyone picked up a copy of the Primal Scream‘Memphis Recordings’ and most scratched their heads wondering how the band ditched these swinging versions for the more straight rock versions that made the commercial release but we’re glad it did see the light of day that’s for sure.
Bringing up exciting new bands a promo for ‘You Say I’m Too Much’ by Estrons flew into our emails and proceeded to work its way around the review team as those that did hear it wanted to review it but the one pulling the lucky straw was Johnny Hayward who rushed out and picked up a copy and a ticket to see them live on the strength of the record that blew him away. One of the reasons why we do this is because we are music fans and discovering new bands and albums still gives us a buzz when it happens and especially when it’s this good.Certainly a potential album of the year right there.
Other notable releases this month were the magnificent Virginmarys‘Northern Sun Sessions’ and ‘Master Volume’ from the Dirty Nil. We also got stuck into a couple of fantastic interviews – firstly Gerald got Tyla to sit down long enough to tell us all about his new album as well as more in-depth responses to some burning questions Gerald wanted to ask someone he greatly admired it was the perfect time to get the exclusive lowdown on the new ‘In Vino Veritas‘ album that was due out in November which we were lucky enough to review first I do believe. As it goes Gerald also picked up the honour of reviewing that to which he gave it a glowing report and one that will certainly be near the top of his end of year list for best album.
Another album we got to review first and another that would easily be a contender for album of the year and that’s the debut solo album from Role Model frontman Rich Ragany. ‘…Like We’ll Never Make It…’ is a beautiful, skillful master class in songwriting and showed another side to the guy we call Rags and we were the first to ask the question of how this guy isn’t everywhere? How he’s not on the cover of music mags? Seriously it’s a weird business sometimes but we get it and so do others such has been the response from people who’ve taken the time to sit down and listen. Anyway, Released via pledge it gets its CD birth in the new year with a release show that will sell out fast and it has a supporting cast that makes me blush thinking how good it’s going to be and RPM will be there too.
I also got to interview one of my favourite players the one and only Alvin Gibbs. We chatted about his forthcoming album as well as his time with Iggy and Cheap and Nasty and found out about Alvin having a degree in History which isn’t something most musical artists can boast as well as a few choice stories about his love of the Subs as well as his book Neighbourhood threat (now entitled ‘Some Weird Sin’) having a makeover with a new chapter and title and a book I can’t recommend highly enough. It really is one of the finest books about touring and being in a band out there and absolutely captivating read and one you won’t want to put down.
Also if that wasn’t enough we also got the lowdown on The Hip Priests new album and it was exclusively revealed that the new album that’ll hit the shops in the new year will be called…Nah click the link and read it yourself. As well as the new album we spoke about playing in a band on shit island and about the expansion to a five-piece.
We could go on and on about all the great records released in October this year but we’d run out of time and we need to review the live shows we took in. So Fraser made sure I mentioned his Kiss Kruise and the fact that he finally got to meet Vinnie Vincent but knowing the kiss set up I can’t see if its Vinnie or if he sent his mother instead with a note explaining.
There were so many shows in October Johnny went gig crazy taking in a diverse range of genres from the Canadian thrash-punks Voivod who RRRRooooared into Cardiff and put on a fantastic display then he headed East to Newport Rock City when he spent a rather splendid evening with Ancient Shapes where he declared the evening to be such a success that it was one of the best gigs he’d been to all year and the only thing missing was the sold out sign on the door.
We also took in Classic rock when Leigh Fuge went to the Tramshed to see Glen Hughes where he was suitably impressed whilst Nev went across the river to see the finest in Americana done acoustically by none other than Chuck Prophet who was supported on the night by Jesse Malin a firm favourite of the team here. It was certainly all happening out West meanwhile in old London town Armitage happened upon a show where The Dirty Strangers followed a magnificent performance by Rich Ragany and the digressions but The headliners from Los Angeles The Brutalists made it a memorable evenings entertainment guvnor.
Sadly October wasn’t all wine and roses as we got the news that Biters were going on an indefinite Hiatus but Tuk later revealed he was heading into the studio to record a solo album which we look forward to in 2019. however, the real tragedy unfolded in California as the news swept social media that Our friend and incredible musician Todd (Youth) Schofield lost his life. It was one of those news stories you hoped was fake news and just an internet trolls mischief but it was later confirmed by his good friend Skye Vaughan-Jayne. Todd will be really missed by a lot of people most notably his daughters and close friends. Todd was a gent we had the pleasure of meeting several times when he toured the UK as part of Jesse Malin’s band and also when out with Chelsea Smiles. When Johnny was the head honcho at Uber Rock he had the pleasure of interviewing the guy who was very supportive of an alternative website championing rock n roll and for all the records he played on we salute you, Mr Youth, you will never be forgotten.
Before the month was out we still found time to review some fine records most notably Martins breakdown of the new Nicotine Pretty EP ‘Real Life Glories’ whilst Dom forensically picked through the charred remains of Deathtraps ‘Gotta Get Some’ and I even managed to take in a couple of their live shows where the songs came to life and were subsequently throttled to death through the medium of garage punk rock n roll it wasn’t pretty but I liked it – no I fuckin’ loved it! – great stuff!
Gerald flew in his Prophets Of Addiction album review which again impressed us at HQ whilst Ben was mightily Impressed with King Brothers and their wild Garage beats. There was even time for Jeff Dahl to drop by with a new mini album in tow which he recorded in Sweden with the excellent Demons. It was next month when I got to put some questions about his work and plans.
It’s no strange coincidence that at least five of the best gigs I’ve seen so far this year have all taken place in Le Pub, a venue situated just a few miles away from my front door. The owners and local promoters have certainly been working tirelessly against the tide of arena/tribute bilge that is strangling the UK live music scene at the moment to quite rightly deliver real quality live propositions for punters. and its three bands bills like tonight that really do stick a middle finger up at what everyone else appears to be doing.
Granted coupling Canadian garage punks who most people in the UK will probably not have heard of along with two local(ish) bands might not exactly sound like the second coming, but if you hadn’t already heard Ancient Shapes before tonight there really is no excuse for musical ignorance in this age of the interweb. Admittedly it took me a few listens to realise that contemporary country singer Daniel Romano was also the Daniel Romano fronting Ancient Shapes, such is the shift for him musically with this project, but once it had all clicked into place and I had managed to procure a copy of the band’s 2016 self-titled debut record this was always going to be a must see gig for me.
It’s such a shame then that more people hadn’t done the same levels of research I had because Cardiff trio Human Heat gets to open proceedings tonight to only a handful of people. Ploughing into their set of intricately constructed alt-rock and only receiving a smattering of applause in return. Its moments like these that make me so angry about the UK music scene right now, but you know what, if people can’t be arsed to venture out the door to their local club to support new bands then they deserve to be paying £50 to £100 to be watching a few dots on the horizon in some fucking aircraft hangar, or worst still the £10 to £20 they are willing to part with to watch blokes pretending to be bands they never saw or liked the first time of asking. That’s right fuckers leave all the hard work to us if you want, then rejoice in the fame by association if a local band does finally make it big… Look don’t get me started, this is supposed to be a live review, not a rant.
Thankfully my faith in humanity is almost restored by the time The Violent Hearts take to the stage with the venue having noticeably filled up and all that inner rage I was feeling immediately subsides as I can now rejoice in the inner rage of someone else instead. Melding the post-punk angst of Joy Division with the spiky punk pop sensibilities of Newport’s very own 60ft Dolls The Violent Hearts are certainly a very intriguing proposition. With singer/guitarist James Mattock and bassist Carl Murrihy having previously worked together in Sharks and with Mattock currently in White Trash with drummer Aidan Sin (their post Computers band) I kind of have a sixth sense about what witnessing The Violent Hearts live might be like. From the off their energy levels are enough to put a Duracell bunny to shame, however sonically this is very much a different thing from the guys. Okay at times there is still the odd hint of Strummer in Mattock’s voice and the rockabilly shuffles that Sin also delivers when sat behind the boogie-woogie master Henri Herbert do creep into proceedings every now and then, but that’s really where this all stops and the musical alchemy these boys practice begins. With little to no between-song banter and just the dissonant sound of a Jazzmaster left to chime in each new song the 30 odd minutes the trio are on stage is dark and compelling stuff, Tonight’s set closer ‘Hex On Me’ is perhaps the trio’s defining moment and for the sake of your own sanity I’d suggest you either go check it out on Bandcamp right now or perhaps better still go see The Violent Hearts and hear it live. Tell them RPM sent you.
The Bob Dylan-esque image I had in my head of Daniel Romano from the cover of his excellent 2015 album ‘If I’ve Only One Time Askin’’ is a far cry from the guy strutting around Le Pub tonight. Gone is the neckerchief wearing, cigarette smoking bequiffed folk rock muse and in his place stands a preening ice cool rock god clad in denim and sporting mandatory sunglasses indoors. He appears by his very nature equal parts Kory Clarke and David Johansen. Quite why he’s also decided to top this image off with a ludicrous blonde mullet wig is beyond me though, but then again when you’re a sucker for detail like Romano then I guess you’ll do whatever it takes to get the mood right, and here he plays the part of rock star frontman to perfection and here along with the four other musicians that make up the touring line up of Ancient Shapes they create a seismic force of pure rock ‘n’ roll energy designed to produce sweaty mosh pits wherever they play.
Influence-wise they display these very openly when just two songs in they deliver a stunning cover of The Who’s ‘I Can’t Explain’, but for me it’s the spirit of New York that burns brightest during the powerpop punk rock blasts of ‘I Wanna Put My Tears Back In’, ‘Hurricane Lady’ and the band’s signature tune ’Ancient Shapes’ which coincidently is also the longest of their songs clocking in at around the two and a half minute mark just because it has a Tom Petty-like midsection breakdown before it once again speeds off faster than ‘United Blood’ era Agnostic Front.
From the band’s just released second album ‘Silent Rave’ ‘Mental Slavery (We Can’t Quit) is amongst the most immediate of the tracks I’d not heard before, and I can honestly think of no better way of ending proceedings than by blasting through the infectious and ridiculous ‘Giant Comma’ a truly fantastic song that somehow makes me wonder what those short educational films on Sesame Street might sound like if it were soundtracked by The Hives.
At the start of this review, I stated that Le Pub had been home for five of the best gigs I’ve witnessed in 2018, well you better make that six because tonight was everything that is great about rock music right now. The only thing missing was the Sold Out sign at the door.