Look at that cover art, now there’s a dude who understands the fine art of being a rock star! Raised in the woods of West Virginia on a diet of 60’s & 70’s rock and a whole host of world music, you could say Gyasi (pronounced Jah-See) had an isolated upbringing. But his time with just his parents record collection and Charlie Chaplin/Buster Keaton movies was all the inspiration he would need to create a theatrical, rock n’ roll persona.

After joining his first band at 15, Gyasi eventually relocated to Nashville to search for the rock n’ roll dream. Now it seems, the newest dandy from the underground is vying to claim the crown of the long-gone rock stars and the bands that are well past their prime.

‘Pronounced Jah-See’ is the first long player on vinyl for this artist. This album collects a bunch of previous singles and new material together on glorious purple wax (other inferior formats are available) and it just begs to be placed on a turntable, the needle to be dropped and the volume to be cranked!

From the opening falsetto vocals and fuzzy guitars of ‘Burn It Down’ to the epic closer ‘Godhead’, Gyasi takes the listener on a pre-digital age tour-de-force of retro rock n’ roll. While the aforementioned opener comes on like Foxy Shazam meets The Darkness, and surely gets my attention, the sublime power pop makes way for the swampy, blues stomp of ‘Tongue Tied’. With a killer guitar harmonizer and some harmonica, it walks the same muddy, southern blues paths that the likes of The Back Keys and The White Stripes have frequented.

You can’t review this album without mentioning the Bowie/Bolan influences, and it doesn’t stop at Gyasi’s fashion sense either. (Yes, Gyasi could be the only man to pull off leopard skin flares and red stack-heeled boots in 2022). ‘Androgyne’ is Ziggy Stardust with countrified slide guitar and well-placed handclaps. ‘Fast Love’ channels T-Rextasy to the max, and ‘Kiss Kiss’ adds some New York Dolls swagger to the mix with honkytonk keys, sexy sax and Johnny Thunders guitar licks. Every song is a banger, hands down, and there’s enough diversity to keep the interest, even for the modern playlist generation.

The thing is that Gyasi is wearing his influences just as well as he wears his threads, man! But he also throws in modern day twists and turns to keep it contemporary. There are hints of Brit Pop going on and he always manages to create killer hooks and choruses that will stick like glue. Take ‘Feed Your Face’, it’s everything glam rock wannabees for the last 40 years have failed to master. Take a pilfered Bowie riff, add a killer chorus and a bunch of handclaps and bobs your uncle, you’ve got a potential hit single!

Then, just when the naysayers will have him nailed as a Bowie rip off artist, he goes and takes the listener on a sentimental trip to Haight-Ashbury. ‘Walk On’ is as Summer Of Love as you can get without putting on a Mamas and The Papas record. A live feel is created with its acoustic intro, it reeks of the San Francisco sun, reefer and doe-eyed hippy chicks with flowers in their hair. Or is it just a Kula Shaker song? I don’t care, all I know is, that it’s the coolest trip my ears have heard in ages and I love it!

Elsewhere, the acoustic ‘Little Tramp’ delivers Led Zep 3 vibes and was probably written around a campfire in the company of faeries, wolves and other such mystical beings. I think I even heard a flute on it! And then to round things off he somehow manages to channel the influences of both Pink Floyd and The Beatles in the epic ‘Godhead’.

Gyasi takes the rock n’ roll swagger of Zeppelin, the bad boy boogie of T Rex and combines the theatre of Queen & David Bowie with the campness of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, all rounded off with catchy hooks and killer choruses that are all of his own making.

While you may argue there is nothing original in rock n’ roll these days, I feel that this album is the most exciting and complete record I have heard this year, hands down. But ‘Pronounced Jah-See’ is more than just a throwback to rock n’ roll’s golden years, it’s a statement of intent that Gyasi is here to take on the world and be the poster boy for the next generation, and that’s just the attitude we want from our rock stars, isn’t it? Music lovers, you ask where the future festival headliners are…I present you Gyasi, give him your stages!

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Author: Ben Hughes


The line-up history of Chicago Power Pop legends Enuff Z’Nuff is a complicated thing to follow. In a nutshell; After 15 years and 10 albums singer leaves band – guitarist (not original guitarist) becomes singer. Guitarist quits band – singer rejoins. Singer quits again – guitarist becomes singer again and subsequently quits…bassist and founding member becomes singer. In-between all this, add the usual band antics including drug addiction/stints in rehab, lawsuits, being shafted by record label/band members, and the tragic deaths of 2 band members. Are you still following?

Fair play, Chip Z’Nuff  is still holding the Enuff Z’Nuff flag flying high in 2022 and if he looks a bit disheveled in his trippy, hippy attire then, he has good reason to be. Not only is his third studio album as lead singer of Enuff Z’Nuff to be released later this year, he precedes that with this, his second solo album entitled ‘Perfectly Imperfect’.

You could be forgiven for being skeptical when Chip took over lead vocal duties from the estranged Donnie Vie. Yeah, the harmony vocals of Chip & Donnie were sublime, but could the bassist possibly pull it off without his longtime songwriting partner? Well, with 3 EZN albums under his diamond studded belt as lead singer and his second solo album on the shelves, it seems the rose-tinted bespectacled Chip is doing just fine on his own.

Of course, the ghost of his former singer is never far from any EZN related release and this album is no different. The first single ‘Heaven In A Bottle’ is an old Chip & Donnie tune that harks back to the early years of the band and has been doing the rounds in demo form for eons. It’s a typical, mid-paced ode to Cheap Trick, the sort of tune they could knock out in their sleep back in the day. Chip’s trippy, laid-back tones are more subdued compared to Donnie’s Lennon-like rasp, and that feel sets the pace for the whole album.

It’s impossible to review this album and not make comparisons to his past songwriting partner. And Chip doesn’t really help matters on ‘Doctor’ by pilfering the main hook from Donnie’s ‘Light Shine On’ from his 2014 release ‘The White Album’. But that said, the duo co-wrote so many tunes the original idea could be from either of them, I guess.

His reworking of ‘My Heroin’ (cunningly re-titled as ‘Heroin’ here) from EZN’s 1995 album ‘Tweaked’ is quite frankly the highlight of the album. I was skeptical on first listen, as its one of my favourite EZN tunes, but fair play, he somehow improves on it. The original was a bare bones recording, a masterpiece of the acoustic slide, harmonica and gut-wrenching sadness, an ode to the pitfalls of addiction. I didn’t think a full band version would improve it, but somehow, with just the addition of bass and drum tracks, it does.

Of the originals on offer, album opener ‘Welcome To The Party’ brings to mind ‘We’re Alright’ (again from ‘Tweaked’) and is a fine listen. It chugs along on the cool hook, again coming on like a long-lost Cheap Trick poptastic dittie that would not sound out of place on ‘Live at Budokan’. ‘I Still Hail Ya’ has a quirky vibe, it’s full of dreamy pop melodies and euphoric vocalisin’. And I’m still not sure if ‘3 Way’ is a driving song or a euphemism for kinky sex, but it’s one of the more upbeat Power Pop ditties on offer and I like it.

Still dressing like a late 60’s Carnaby Street reject at 53 years old, Chip Z’Nuff is flying high again with a selection of old melodies, reimaginings and new ideas.  But listening to ‘Perfectly Imperfect’, I’m left wondering why this album is released under the ‘solo’ moniker? It is no real departure from the signature Chip sound, but it is a departure from the Enuff Z’Nuff signature sound, as are the last 3 albums without his songwriting partner.

If you are an Enuff Z’Nuff fan you will love it I’m sure, but at just 9 songs, it speaks volumes to me that the strongest offerings are the last two on the album; the aforementioned ‘Heroin’, a song Chip wrote a lifetime ago, and a 48-year-old Mott The Hoople song called ‘Honaloochie Boogie’. Maybe it’s just a stop gap to keep the fanbase happy, or one of those ‘contractual obligation’ albums, but as the title suggests, this solo album feels a bit cobbled together, out of time and out of place. But you know what, I do quite like it.

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Author: Ben Hughes

2 years on from their covers opus ‘Cocaine And Other Good Stuff’, Warrior Soul return with a brand new album, the title inspired by their enigmatic singer’s past stint in the slammer.

The fact that Kory Clarke has been in trouble with the law may come as no surprise. The mouthpiece of Warrior Soul has been spitting bile for well over 30 years. A band well ahead of their time, Warrior Soul shoulda took the world by storm back in the early 90’s with their politically-charged diatribes and apocalyptical forewarnings, but sadly the world wasn’t ready for Kory’s metallic-tinged rage.

Band members have come and gone; some have sadly shifted off this mortal coil (RIP bassist Pete McClanahan) but the warrior remains…punk and belligerent to the end.

‘Out On Bail’ is a collection of 8 songs that has a running time of around 30 minutes. It has been self-produced by Kory and features a host of players in the ever-changing Warrior Soul lineup that currently includes Dennis Post on guitar and Christian Kimmett on bass. No less than 3 guitar players and a matching number of drummers (Kory even plays drums on one track) lend their talents to an album that was recorded during various lockdowns.

An atmospheric intro piece sets the cinematic vibe, before blasting into topical opener ‘We’re Alive’, a song that builds on urgent beats and that unmistakable 40-a-day gritty vocal that has certainly weathered over the years. The no-frills production suits the raw, punked-up vibe and this opener is a statement of intent for one of New York’s most outspoken sons.

‘One More For The Road’ recalls the Warrior Soul of old in both style and delivery. Road stories and past glories are all wrapped up in dirty riffage and crashing drums. It’s a hypnotic cacophony of new age noise, and we wouldn’t want it any other way, would we?

3 tracks in and ‘Hip Hip Hurray’ again takes us back to the early 90’s alt-metal sounds. A politically-themed diatribe set to crashing primal beats, sonically seductive guitars, and a trademark, anthemic Kory chorus that will remind you just how satisfying it can be to fist-punch the air along to a song! Somewhat ironically, the title track is an 80’s rock throwback. Featuring a familiar-sounding riff straight from the sunset strip, and an instantly addictive hook, it’s a song you can’t help but like. It has a ‘live in the studio’ feel and an AC/DC style finale that sits well.

Closer ‘The New Paradigm’ is Kory at his finest doing something a little bit leftfield. It builds on a stark yet hypnotic bass riff, Kory’s poetic lyric, and a guitar riff reminiscent of prime Jane’s Addiction. An atmospheric, alt-rock feel permeates throughout as the instrumentation ebbs and flows nicely, Kory’s sandpaper vocals leading us into the new world.

So, it’s pretty much business as usual for Warrior Soul in 2022. ‘Out On Bail’ is a solid, no-frills punk n’ roll album, just as you would expect it to be. A short, sharp shock to the system that is as raw, messy, and undiluted as its frontman. And while there is nothing here as exciting as my personal favourite ‘Space Age Playboys’ era of the band, it’s a satisfying listen from an artist who has weathered the storm, come out the other end fighting, and still has something to say.

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Author: Ben Hughes

10. Steve Conte – ‘Bronx Cheer (Wicked Cool Records)

09. David Ryder Prangley – ‘Vampire Deluxe’ (Serena Records)

09. Captain Future – ‘Ghostman’ (Gypsy Hotel Records)

07. Sonny Vincent – ‘Snake Pit Therapy’ (Svart Records)

07. Rich Ragany & The Digressions – ‘Beyond Nostalgia & Heartache’ (Story Highway Records)

05. Jesse Malin – ‘Sad And Beautiful World’ (Wicked Cool Records)

04. Alice Cooper – ‘Detroit Stories’ (earMUSIC)

03. Bronx – ‘Bronx VI’ (Cooking Vinyl Records)

02. The Wildhearts – ’21st Century Love Songs’ (Graphite)

The RPM Online Writers Album Of 2021

01. Sami Yaffa – ‘The Innermost Journey to Your Outermost Mind’ (Livewire)


Who voted for what.

Gaz Tidey

The Bronx – ‘The Bronx’ (Cooking Vinyl/White Drugs)

Sami Yaffa – ‘The Innermost Journey To Your Outermost Mind’
(Livewire/Cargo Records)

Alice Cooper – ‘Detroit Stories’ (earMUSIC)

The Wildhearts – ‘21st Century Love Songs’ (Graphite Records)

Duran Duran – ‘Future Past’ (BMG)

Royal Blood – ‘Typhoons’ (Warner Records)

Rob Zombie – ‘The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy’
(Nuclear Blast)

Death By Unga Bunga – ‘Heavy Male Insecurity’ (Jansen Records)

Ricky Warwick – ‘When Life Was Hard And Fast’ (Nuclear Blast)

Weezer – ‘Van Weezer’ (Atlantic)


 Gareth ‘Hotshot’ Hooper

The wildhearts – ’21st century love songs’ (Graphite Records)

Crashdiet – ‘Rust’ (Frontiers)

Ricky warwick – ‘when life was hard and fast’

Elvis Presley – ‘Elvis Back In Nashville’

Sixx am – ‘Hits’

Alice Cooper – ‘Detroit Stories’ (earMUSIC)

Cheap Trick – ‘In Another World’

L.A. Guns – ‘Checkered Past’

Motley Crue – ’40 year Anniversary Remasters’

Ginger Wildheart – ‘Love In The Time Of Cholera’

David Ryder Prangly – ‘Vampire Deluxe’ 


Martin Chamarette –

David Ryder Prangley – ‘Vampire Deluxe’

Luke Haines ‘Setting The Dogs On The Post-Punk Postman’

Mad Daddy – ‘self titled’

Radio Days – ‘Rave On’

The Speedways – ‘Borrowed And Blue’

Mad Rollers – ‘Get Mad’

Dan Sartain – ‘Arise, Dan Sartain, Arise!’

The Scaramanga Six – ‘Worthless Music’

Sami Yaffa – ‘The Innermost Journey To Your Outermost Mind’

CUIR – ‘L’album’


Fraser Deathtraps

Bronx – IV

The Wildhearts – ‘Twenty First Century Love Songs’

The Drippers – ‘Scandinavian Thunder’

Alice Cooper – ‘Detroit Stories’ (earMUSIC)

Bitch Queens – ‘Custom Dystopia’ (Lux Noise Records)

Chuck Norris Experiment – ‘This Will Leave A Mark’

Mike McKinnon – ‘Silent Like A Bomb’

The Boatsmen – ‘Verses The Boatsmen’

Governess – ‘Never Going Home’

Dead Furies – ‘Midnight Ramble’


Johnny Hayward –

Sami Yaffa – ‘The Innermost Journey to Your Outermost Mind’

The Bronx – ‘VI’

Rich Ragany & The Digressions – ‘Beyond Nostalgia & Heartache’

Mike McKinnon – ‘Silent Like A Bomb’

Gary Numan – ‘Intruder’

Nestor – ‘Kids In A Ghost Town’

Table Scraps – ‘Coffin Face’

Green Lung – ‘Black Harvest’

Watts – ‘Shady Rock & Rollers’

Chuck Norris Experiment – ‘This Will Leave A Mark’

Also recommended

Razorbats – ‘Mainline Rock N Roll’, Wonk Unit – ‘Uncle Daddy’, Black Spiders – ‘Black Spiders’, The Limit – ‘Caveman Logic’,  Alice Cooper – ‘Detroit Stories’, Death By Unga Bunga – ‘Heavy Male Insecurity’, Bitch Queens – ‘Custom Dystopia’, The Chisel – ‘Retaliation’, Roger Taylor – ‘The Outsider’, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss – ‘Raise The Roof’

Ben Hughes

Vintage Trouble – ‘Juke Joint Gems’

Sami Yaffa – ‘The Innermost Journey To Your Outermost Mind’

Ryan Hamilton – ‘1221’

The Brothers Steve – ‘Dose’

Alabama 3 – ‘Step 13’

Delilah Bon – S/T

Steve Conte – ‘Bronx Cheer’

Jesse Malin – ‘Sad And Beautiful World’

Amyl and The Sniffers – ‘Comfort To Me’

Captain Future – ‘Ghostman’


Dom Daley

Sami Yaffa – ‘The Innermost Journey To Your Outermost Mind’ (Livewire)

Jesse Malin – ‘Sad And Beautiful World’ (Wicked Cool Records)

Richard Bacchus & The Luckiest Girls – ‘Viva La Wattage’ (Sioux Records)

Sonny Vincent – ‘Snake Pit Therapy’ (Svart Records)

Killer Hearts – ‘Skintight Electric’ (Spaghetty Town Records)

Rich Ragany & The Digressions – ‘Beyond Nostalgia & Heartache’ (Story Highway Records)

7. Steve Conte – ‘Bronx Cheer (Wicked Cool Records)

8. Trampoline – ‘Love No Less Than A Queen’ (Strap Originals)

9. Civic -Future Forecast (ATO Records)

10. The Yowl – The Yowl’ (Sioux Records)


Kenny Kendrick

Green Lung – ‘Black Harvest’ (Svart Records)

Robert Plant & Alison Krauss – ‘Raise the Roof’

3 Black Label Society – ‘Doom Crew Inc.’

4 Flotsam & Jetsam – ‘Blood In The Water’

5 The End Machine – ‘Phase 2’

6 Manimal – ‘Armageddon’

7 Smith/Kotzen – ‘EP’

8 Motorhead – ‘No Sleep till Hammersmith (40th Anniversary Edition)

9 Armored Saint – ‘Symbol of Salvation Live’

10 Steven Wilson – ‘The Future Bites’


Dan Kasm

Iron Lizards – ‘Hungry for Action’

Pretty Sick – ‘Come Down’

AFI – ‘Bodies’

Jackson Reid Briggs and the Heaters – ‘Waiting In A Corner’

Sonny Vincent – ‘Snake Pit Therapy’

Dinosaur Jr – ‘Sweep It Into Space’

Zeahorse – ‘Let’s Not (and say we did)’

Governess – ‘Never Coming Home’

The Boatsman – ‘Versus the Boatsman’

The Wildhearts – ’21st Century Love Songs’

Special entry: The Dogmatics – ‘Est 81 Retrospective’

Gerald Stansbury

The Wildhearts “21st Century Love Songs”

The Damn Truth “Now or Never”

Helloween – ‘Helloween’

Jesse Malin – ‘Sad and Beautiful’

Cradle of Filth – ‘Existence is Futile’

Dropkick Murphys – ‘Turn Up the Dial’

The Middlenight Men – ‘Issue 1’

Thunder -‘All the Right Noises’


Nev Brooks

Bobby Gillespie/Jenny Beth -‘Dystophian Ashes’

Nick Cave – ‘Idiots Prayer’

Nick Cave/Warren Ellis – ‘Carnage’

Paul Ronnie Angel – ‘London Texas Lockdown’

Sister Cookie – ‘In the Blue Corner’

Wildhearts – ’21st Century Love songs’

Sammi Yaffa- ‘Innermost Journey To Your Outermost Mind’

Ferocious Dog -‘The Hope’

Robert Plant/Alison Krauss – ‘Raise the Roof’

Primal Scream- ‘Live at Levitation’

Lady Blackbird -‘Black Acid Soul’

Jesse Malin- ‘Sad and Beautiful World’

Captain Future – ‘Ghostman’


Snake, rattle and roll campers, Frank is back with album number four and it is as tasty as its title suggests. Short and sweet, ‘Sticky’ comes hot on the tails of its predecessor ‘End Of Suffering’. This album was written during lockdown and as such, is less about metal health and anxiety, but more of a social commentary full of pent-up anger and small-town survival in Covid Britain.

“We all lost a year to the doldrums” Frank sings during ‘Rat Race’, the penultimate track on ‘Sticky’. Elsewhere in killer single “Go Get A Tattoo” he proclaims to “never want a lockdown again”. These are perfect examples of the relatability of Frank Carter’s lyricism and one of the reasons The Rattlesnakes have become one of the best live bands in the UK.

With each album release songwriters Frank Carter and guitarist Dean Richardson have pushed the bar higher and ‘Sticky’ is no different. Taking inspiration from pop and electronic music and collaborating with rock diva Cassyette, Rapper Lynks and Idles main man Joe Talbot, the band move further from the hardcore punk roots and dig deeper into commercial rock territory, yet always keeping it diverse and interesting at every turn and twist.

The fuzzy bass, processed beats and frenetic guitars of the opening title track bode well. The social commentary is rife from the start and Frank’s message, as ever, is never subtle. A wicked tale of late-night drunken antics “what the fuck is wrong with me? kicking around at half past 3” he yells. Musically it continues where ‘Kitty Sucker’ left us on the last album, yet lyrically it spirals out of a lockdown hell. 2 minutes and 34 seconds of introspection, self-loathing and punk rock power. Just what’s needed right now, yeah?

We then take a one-two trip following our man on an all-night bender. The dumb-ass punk feel of ‘Bang Bang’ fits the bill and the barking dogs and sonic boom bass of ‘Take It To The Brink’ are either designed to confuse or make the listener uneasy, and they both succeed. It’s hyper cool and well, when Frank is inciting you to bang your head off the wall and take another drink, what is a man to do?

Aided and abetted by Idles man Joe Talbot, the single ‘My Town’ is a social sidewinder that highlights the struggles of mental health many have experienced during lockdown. It’s an anthemic blast of punk noise straight from the street that could be just like the one where you live.

The tongue-in-cheek ‘Get A Tattoo’ could be the greatest single of the year. Bouncy bass and gritty lyrics lead to a frantic, killer chorus that most bands would die to have written. The inclusion of rapper Lynks adds cool street cred for the kids and makes it one of the standout rock tracks of the year, let alone of this album. If you aren’t singing that chorus over and over by the time you read this, or you seriously don’t get the urge to go out and get inked immediately, then you must be dead inside.

Again, collaborating with an edgy, current artist is a master stroke. The helium induced vocalisin’ of Cassyette adds a new dimension to the signature Rattlesnakes sound. The juxtaposition of the male/female lead vocals works well and adds intensity to an already electrifying tune.

They even drag in Primal Scream legend Bobby Gillespie to add his dulcet tones to album closer ‘Original Sin’.

‘Sticky’ is a release for all the pent-up anger, aggression and forced confinement of recent times. It may be relatable if you felt like smashing a bottle against a wall just to feel the release, it may be relatable if you feel the urge to get a tattoo just to feel the pain, it may even be relatable if you just wanna see Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes live again and lose your shit like never before.

Many releases this year have been given the title ‘an album of the times’ and it’s no real surprise that Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes have given us another with ‘Sticky’.

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Author: Ben Hughes

10 years ago, I was banging on to anyone who would listen about this great new band from L.A. called Vintage Trouble who dressed suited and booted, like they meant business, and played the kind of dirty, pelvis pushin’ rock n’ soul music usually reserved for whiskey drinking, juke joint jivers.



They gained friends in high places and toured the world on stages opening for the likes of Bon Jovi, The Who and AC/DC. In between they played clubs and sweaty dives across the UK and Europe gaining a live reputation and a following affectionately known as Troublemakers.


Their management had an agenda and it seemed to be paying off. They were, and I don’t say this lightly, probably the best live band on the planet at that time. Singer Ty Taylor possessed a voice raw like James Brown but as controlled and powerful as Freddie Mercury, and he could work a crowd as well as both of them. The band were as tight as any band I have ever seen. The Zep meets James Brown comparisons came thick and fast in the press and with a killer debut album called ‘The Bomb Shelter Sessions’ up their sleeves, they seemed to have the world at their feet.


Many of the songs they were playing live back then were already recorded for album number two, but it was ultimately shelved by the powers that be for whatever crazy reason, and the band went in a different direction, releasing the critically acclaimed, yet disappointing ‘One Hopeful Road’ 4 years later. Fast forward a decade and these ‘lost’ songs have finally surfaced under the moniker ‘Juke Joint Gems’, with no fanfare, no press coverage and as yet, no physical release.


Opener ‘The World’s Gonna Have To Take A Turn Around’ is probably their finest moment, previously available on the UK double CD version of ‘TBSS’ back in 2011. A perfectly executed protest song pure and simple, it’s a fitting soundtrack for these troubled times of BLM, Climate change and Covid. This song straddles genres and would have mass appeal if played in all the right places. Soulful, mournful and bluesy, yet as uplifting as singing hymns in church at Christmas. A sublime introduction.


A live version of ‘Love With Me’ appeared on that same CD, the studio version here is more polished around the edges but still retains that electrifying spark that the band possess live. The following ‘24-7-365 Satisfaction Man’ was a Troublemaker live favourite back in the early days. One of their trademark, deep soulful love songs, it builds on a killer, slow beat rhythm courtesy of drummer Richard Danielson and bassist Rick Barrio Dill. The understated guitars by Nalle Colt are there just enough to accentuate things and leave space for Ty to work his magic.


Three songs in and already I have been transported back 10 years to those magical early gigs, watching a killer live band prove themselves to a new audience night after night. The songs sound just as I remember them live, and while they benefit from the studio treatment, they lose none of their fire. ‘Red Handed’ is a deep cut for sure, that guitar intro is insane, I had to give it a rewind! The added, soulful backing vocals and stabs of piano bring it to life and the scratchy wah-wah solo gives a New York 70’s vibe to proceedings, and it’s a dirty groove for sure. Things get dirtier with ‘Low Down Dirty Dog’, and it sounds just as the title suggests. A foot-stomping, backstreet anthem that retains the live feel of the band and showcases the more edgy, rock n’ roll side that they are more than capable of. This is where those Zep meets James Brown comparisons are justified.



‘Let It Not Be So’ on the other hand takes thing in a completely different direction. Coming on like a Nat King Cole seasonal ballad, this is Ty’s soulful upbringing and musical influences coming to the fore. Chilled acoustic guitars and a laid-back, perfectly executed rhythm are there creating space for the vocal melody to shine. Elsewhere, ‘Twisted Together’ and ‘Lover Let Me Be’ have a Jackie Wilson, 50’s soulful pop feel, coming on like classic 45’s spinning at a Northern Soul club.



Then we get to my favourite of the whole damn bunch. ‘You Saved Me’ is hands down my favourite tune by these suited and booted dudes, yet I have only had live versions going around in my head for the last 10 years. I love the dynamics of this song, the little stop-starts, and the lyrics are delivered just as I remember. The way Ty accentuates the hook in the chorus each time, it’s just sublime and gives me goosebumps just as it did when I saw them play it live. For me, it is one of those songs that was instant the first time I heard it, like it has been in my head forever.



Album closer ‘Get It’ was only previously available on the Japanese edition of ‘One Hopeful Road’. Again, an early live favourite that has an Ike & Tina Turner vibe. A killer beat, kudos Richard here, as he gets to shine on that kit. It’s a pumping, juke joint jive of a tune with a killer bassline and a gang vocal chorus you can’t help but sing.


Personally, I feel ‘Juke Joint Gems’ should’ve been the follow up to ‘TBSS’. These songs showcase the live energy of a band rich in soul and rock n’ roll, who can deliver the goods live night after night. For those who were there, these songs are heaped with nostalgia and will take you back to those early, sweaty gigs. For the uninitiated, this is a testament to what you missed out on and hopefully it will make you buy a ticket the next time they return to these shores.

It’s been a long time coming, and even though it should’ve been released years ago, Vintage Trouble have probably just bagged the album of the year.


Author: Ben Hughes


Written and recorded during the lost year of 2020, through times of fear, anxiety and isolation, to a background of sirens, street protests and impending doom, ‘Sad And Beautiful World’ is Jesse Malin’s 9th studio album. A follow up to the 2019 critically acclaimed album ‘Sunset Kids’, this 17-track double album was recorded sporadically by Jesse in his native New York at Flux Studios, with his touring band of 10 plus years, in-between weekly livestream shows from The Bowery.


‘Sad And Beautiful World’ is a double album spilt into two halves. First, we have the more mellow ‘roots rock’ of disc/record 1, followed by the slightly more upbeat ‘radical’ disc/record 2. Jesse is a troubadour who sings songs and tells stories about what he knows and what he experiences, and this album is not so much a Covid record, as an observation of feelings, fears and searching for redemption. Overall, it comes across as a record filled with hope in troubled times.


From the laid-back Americana of opener ‘Greener Pastures’ to the closing celebratory and euphoric ‘Saint Christopher’, out illustrious host takes us on a journey, a trip through his mind if you will.


To be honest the themes of the two records blur into one with not much to distinguish between roots and radical, and while this whole double album would fit snugly on one CD (like record companies insisted sometime in the 90’s), Jesse is old school and releases albums like his heroes, so we’ll go with the double album format. The single ‘State Of The Art’ for example is as upbeat as you like, it hits like a statement of intent, from that piano intro to the killer, familiar pop melody that builds to a classic Malin chorus, it’s up there with Billy Joel and Springsteen as far as I’m concerned, and don’t take that statement lightly.


If you’re a fan, you will probably be aware of several of these tunes already, as there have been quite a few singles in the past 12 months. From the retrospective ‘The Way We Used To Roll’ to the Lou Reed groove of ‘Backstabbers’, onto the heartfelt, rootsy balladry of ‘Tall Black Horses’, they all showcase the diversity and depth of a singer/songwriter at the top of his game.


For me, there were two songs that stood out from the crowd in the lead-up to the release, and after a dozen play-throughs of this album they still come out trumps. ‘Todd Youth’ is a gloriously heartfelt tribute to a fallen friend, featuring pumping NYC street bass, handclaps, and HR from Bad Brains. The juxtaposition of sad subject matter and an upbeat, radio-friendly melody makes for a tune that imbeds itself deep in the soul. Jesse also pays tribute to another fallen hero/influence by covering Tom Petty’s ‘Crawling Back To You’, a lesser-known but highly sentimental trip from his 1994 solo album ‘Wildflowers’. The bare-bones recording with acoustics, piano, and that unmistakable Malin NY drawl, its melancholic, starkly beautiful, and as much an album highlight here as the original was in its initial release.


Come to think of it, the ghost of Tom Petty rears his head throughout ‘Sad And Beautiful World’. The country twang and heartfelt feel of ‘Lost Forever’ is as Tom Petty as you can get. But there’s also nods to another icon David Bowie in his 80’s heyday on the likes of ‘Before You Go’ and ‘A Little Death’. Sometimes it’s just in the bassline or the way he phrases certain things, just listen and you’ll hear it, trust me.


For me, ‘Sad And Beautiful World’ harks back to Jesse’s debut album ‘The Fine Art Of Self Destruction’ that came out nearly 20 years ago. The mark of a great songwriter is the ability to take you on a lyrical and melodic journey, and the fact that Jesse still has the power to create emotional works of art filled with hope, optimism and heartbreak in equal measures is a testament to his years on the road and his ability to express and keep it real. An essential purchase for all you rastas, as Jesse would say.

Buy here

Author: Ben Hughes

It’s been 10 years since I was first introduced to the crazy world of The Urban Voodoo Machine, and I have seen this East London based bunch of ne’er do well’s more times than I can remember. But what is it that keeps me coming back for more? I think it is the fact that every show is different, you never know what you are going to get and they deliver the most exciting and entertaining live show this side of the pond. Chief mouthpiece Paul-Ronney Angel also hosts a club night once a month called the Gypsy Hotel, showcasing the best in underground talent, whether that be rock n’ roll, outlaw country, comedy capers or fire breathing burlesque acts. An eclectic and edgy evening is always guaranteed and it’s all rounded off by the coolest soundtrack delivered by DJ Scratchy.


I’ve always fancied it, but never got my act together to go. Now, a combination of gig starvation due to Covid, a 15th anniversary show right in the heart of Alabama 3 territory of Brixton, and the added attraction of Jack White opening his London branch of Third Man Records in Soho on the same day. It seems the stars have aligned and I cannot miss this opportunity.

The Hootananny is a great venue, the perfect setting for this night in fact. Food, drink and conversation flow into the night before the first act Kelley Swindall takes to the stage to warm things a little after 9pm. The Georgia-born/NYC based solo artist blends soulful and whimsical folk with old school country to perfection. With a sparkly blue jumpsuit, a cheeky dollyesque smile and a Johnny Cash delivery she turns out to be quite mesmerising to watch and listen to in equal measures.


The skiffle scratch of ‘My Minglewood Blues’ fits the bills nicely and the tongue-in-cheek storytelling of ‘California’ is a hoot to experience. With a killer voice, a charismatic disposition and classic 70’s California looks, she sure has it going on.


Kelley has been touring dives and juke joints for 10 years, she sure knows how to work a crowd and you can tell these songs have been thoroughly road-tested. An enjoyable set that leaves me wanting to go check out more of her material.

Up next we have some old school burlesque entertainment with the cheekily titled Trixi Tassels. She struts her stuff to an extended version of ‘St James Infirmary’ and seems to enjoy every moment of her act as much as the guys and gals that are slowly but surely filling up the room. The whooping and hollering only spurs Trixi on as she removes item by item, ending up on her back removing her stockings with some feigned and brilliantly over-acted trouble. She even gets one undergarment stuck, hanging on the Hootannany sign right above her head where she threw it, and ends her show setting her nipples on fire for some flame-filled tassel twirling, much to the joy of the appreciative crowd.


In this age of political correctness, it seems so fresh and exciting just being entertained by one of the oldest and simplest forms of club entertainment. Long may Trixi Tassels twirl her twirly bits!



It’s been nearly two years since my last UVM show and I believe they have only done a couple of gigs themselves in recent weeks leading up to this show, but you would never know by their performance tonight. The gang are all present and correct as they take to the stage to the instrumental ‘Theme From The Urban Voodoo Machine’ and it’s like they’ve never been away. With more black than red on show tonight, the lead players P-R Angel and saxophonist Lucifire lead the band through a shorter than usual killer set of spaghetti western tinged rock n’ roll with heaps of crazy, carnival sized goodness. The ‘In Black n’ Red’ one-two of ‘High Jeopardy Thing’ and ‘Cheers For The Tears’ is like welcoming back two old friends. The former, an old school juke joint classic, the latter a more bombastic statement of intent. Both full of brass, both completely rock n’ roll.


Recent past singles ‘Living In Fear’ and ‘Johnny Foreigner’ fit the set just right now, and lyrically both seem more relevant than ever. ‘Orphan’s Lament’ is always a live highlight and the following ‘Crazy Maria’ has become a personal favourite over the last few years. Guitarist Tony Diavalo has come into his own in recent years since filling the Cuban heeled boots of fallen brother Nick Marsh (RIP). Here, he takes to maracas and mariachi style hollering to add Mexican spice to proceedings.

The new single ‘Empty Plastic Cup’ is a cool taster for the upcoming album ‘Snake Engine Oil’, which is due at the end of the year. Full of twangy guitars, “hoo-haa” chants, bursts of brass, and a killer chorus refrain to sing until the Tories are ousted, what more do you need?


The energy and electricity created onstage reverberate through the now packed room and as the temperature rises, the drinks flow and people lose their inhibitions and the Gypsy Hotel comes to life as the club night I always hoped it would be.


‘Goodbye To Another Year’ seems the perfect set closer tonight. A celebratory drinking song and a testament to all that is good about The Urban Voodoo Machine. Much more than just a band, The Urban Voodoo Machine is a collective who ply bourbon-soaked, gypsy blues bop n’ stroll music and every show is a party. They were on fire tonight and it’s a much-needed welcome back to one of the UK’s greatest live bands.


You either have to be very confident or very stupid to follow a set from The Urban Voodoo Machine. Luckily The Future Shape Of Sound ooze confidence from every pore. No strangers to playing with P-R Angel’s mob or even playing The Gypsy Hotel, Alex McGowan (aka Captain Future) and his band make the night their own from the moment they step onto the stage at around 1 am.

“Welcome to the Church Of Rock n roll!” shouts the frontman with a statement of intent before launching straight into ‘Toe The Line’. Their brand of East London street gospel is bluesy, primitive, and downright infectious, and the packed and sweaty room lap it up. The band is basically guitar, bass, drums, and keyboard, but the addition of a four-piece, all-girl backing choir, stand-up drums, and ace-in-the-hole lead vocalist Debbralee Wells makes for a massive sound that fills the room.


With a domino mask covering her eyes, more sparkle than a clear nights sky and enough black feathers to fill a witch doctor’s duvet, she cuts a striking figure, but it’s that amazing voice that brings the show alive. Tonight, she puts the soul in rock n’ roll leaving Captain Future free to direct the band around her. Pulling off the Ronnie Wood meets Johnny Thunders look with ease while pulling licks on his guitar, he nods and gives cues to the band, especially to stand-in drummer Joni Belaruski from The Great Malarkey who doesn’t miss a single beat all night.


‘Rise Up’ brings the party early. Like a mix of the Clara Ward Singers and the Blues Brothers hosting the party at the end of the universe, it sounds sublime. What I do notice is that, unlike a lot of gigs in recent times, everyone is dancing and joining in, ok so it is way past the witching hour and the drinks have been flowing for a good few hours, but this feels like a proper club show rather than just another gig. I love this. People of all ages are dancing, singing and falling over, a young couple are getting off with each other to my left and groups of young girls who have probably never heard the band before, or even been to a live show before, will have their lives changes…maybe forever.

The slow groover ‘Number One’ comes on like Aretha singing Alabama 3 and is a welcome breather before ‘Joy’ takes us to church. That cool Hammond introduction, the sweet soulful lead vocals. It kicks in, as upbeat as you like it. The band giving it their all. The full backing vocals fill the room and everyone goes wild.


Various UVM members join for the closing cover of ‘Help Me Jesus’ and then they encore with an alternative version of ‘Rise Up’.


A night at the Gypsy Hotel exceeded all my expectations. All the acts were on fire (some literally!), the setting was perfect, the atmosphere was electric and the crowd very, very drunk! I can see why it has the reputation it has and is still going strong after 15 years. The Gypsy Hotel attracts rockers, ravers, lovers, and sinners and we all come together to celebrate and escape the reality of everyday life to create our own reality.


Get a night at the Gypsy Hotel on your bucket list and thank me once you’ve recovered. The benchmark has been set for gig of the year.


Author:Ben Hughes

Photos: Ben Williams






It’s been 18 months since bands have been able to tour. Now is the time to shake off those cobwebs, as Barnsley’s finest exponents of 90s influenced grunge punk continue their quest for world domination and take their postponed ‘Angry Tour’ (now dubbed the ‘Still Angry Tour’) on the road.

Yes, an actual tour folks! One that will see the band travel the length and breadth of the country for the next couple of months, remember when bands did that?

This tour will be bookended by a couple of festival dates and a hometown show in December at The Birdwell Venue in Barnsley. Not only will it be the band’s first tour in 18 months, but it will be most fans first gig in 18 months as well.

Joining the band on this first date in York is local lads As Sirens Fall. The last time I saw this emo bunch live they were dressed in drag, tonight they hit the stage as men…ok, so the drummer is wearing a kilt and has more New Wave inspired make up going on than Adam Ant circa 1982, but why the hell not? This is rock n’ roll after all!

I barely know their songs, but they sound and look magnificent. Recent single ‘Dynamite’ is an obvious highlight. Full of anthemic gang vocals and fat riffage, it’s a stadium-sized chunk of modern rock in the vein of My Chemical Romance and 30 Seconds To Mars, which sure ain’t a bad place to be.

Resplendent in black and yellow striped mohair jumper, singer Mikey Lord is all over the stage, knows how to work a crowd and make the girls weak at the knees, while drummer Bailey has all the best Tommy Lee moves off to a tee.

An energetic set, choc-a-bloc with anthemic emo hits to be, the world awaits quite possibly York’s finest current rock band. Is there an album in the works? We wait in hope and look forward to watch them rise.

Lauren Tate has been busy during the pandemic. Not content with just writing a few songs or playing a few online acoustic shows, she only went and created a whole new alter ego named Delilah Bon, released a bunch of singles with pro shot, homemade videos, and released a killer album full of hip-hop/brat punk hits. She will take Delilah on the road next year, but now it’s back to business with her main band Hands Off Gretel.

2 albums and an EP into their career, Hands Off Gretel now have an arsenal of angry anthems to pick from, and based on tonight’s performance you never would have guessed they have been hibernating for 18 months.

Lauren of course has the full package. She looks the part, sounds the part and she prowls the stage like she owns the thing. Don’t be fooled by the pretty green dress and the pink/red hair combo she sports tonight, this grrl can riot with the best of ‘em. But it’s all made possible by the more than competent band she has behind her.

It’s been good to watch their evolution as a live band, and the addition of Becky Baldwin on bass has been the icing on the cake. Along with drummer Sam, she holds the whole thing together, leaving space for livewire guitarist Sean Bon to bash out grungy riffs, while Lauren has the job of keeping the attention of everyone in the room. And she succeeds on that front with ease. Full of confidence, energy and charisma, she delivers her self-penned grunge anthems with the gusto and angst of her heroes.

‘Milk’ channels Hole massively, she croons the opening line before delivering the guttural wail of a banshee, ‘SASS’ and the following ‘I Want The World’ incite the girls down the front to bounce and sing every word back to the poster girl of 2021.

More recent tunes from the ‘Angry EP’ have been live favourites for a while, ‘Don’t Touch’ and the excellent set highlight ‘She Thinks Shes Punk Rock n Roll’ are schizophrenic bursts of proper punk power that prove this artist is more than just a pretty face and truly has something to say that can relate to her fanbase.

Nice to hear the inclusion of ‘Rot’ which Lauren says they have never played live before, and a killer encore of Nirvana’s ‘Territorial Pissings’. Highlight of the night is a dead tie between main set closer ‘Kiss Me Girl’ and the Pink inspired balladry of ‘Freaks Like Us’. Both are anthems in their own way and both go down a storm.

The pandemic may have delayed the taking of the world, but Hands Off Gretel are back and Lauren Tate is still after her crown. And on tonight’s performance and the reaction from the crowd, she just might pull it off.

It’s been a long time coming and suddenly it’s like gigs have never been away. A glorious welcome back to live music in the town where I live. In these uncertain times we take nothing for granted, so I suggest you see this band while you still have the chance, you will not regret it.


Author: Ben Hughes





While he will always be known as the guy who replaced Izzy in Guns n’ Roses, Gilby Clarke has always been much more than just the Ronnie Wood to Slash’s Keef. When he left Guns n’ Roses in 1994 he went on to release arguably the best solo album by any member of the band with ‘Pawnshop Guitars’, proving he was always more than just a hired hand.

Gilby went on to release 4 quality solo albums in the late 90’s/early 00’s to much critical acclaim, yet little commercial success. The following years have seen the singer play with Slash’s Snakepit, Heart and MC5, as well as fronting the Rock Star Supernova project.

Now, 20 years after his last solo offering ‘Sawg’, Gilby returns with his new album ‘The Gospel Truth’. It was self-produced, written and laid down at his LA recording studio Redrum Recording, before lockdown was even a thing.


The thing I like about a Gilby Clarke album is you know what you are going to get. Let’s be honest here, he ain’t reinventing the wheel with his low-slung rock n’ roll tunes, but he has never claimed to. Gilby is just having fun writing and recording top quality tunes influenced by his heroes, pure and simple.

And the essence of loud guitars and rock n’ roll is evident from the off on the opening title track. With a killer, driving bassline, a cool ramshackle riff and those unmistakable raspy vocals, its low-slung rock n’ roll at its finest, delivered in the same vein as ‘Cure Me… or Kill Me…’ from that classic debut album. The cool female backing vocals add some soul to the rock n’ roll goodness here, which only helps to make a cracking opener.

‘Wayfarer’ follows, probably my current favourite song. Overly cool bass, handclaps and organ take us down a bluesy, well-travelled road. Again, some great backing harmonies that give a west coast vibe, you will keep returning to this one, believe me.

Motley Crue legend Nikki Sixx and Jane’s Addiction drummer Steven Perkins add their respective talents to ‘Tightwad’, a solid enough punky rocker where, funnily enough the bass is not as prominent or as cool as in the opening one-two.

Elsewhere, ‘Violation’ is full of punky attitude and NY garage rock goodness. A New York Dolls kinda riff gives way to honkytonk piano accompaniment to create a backstreet anthem that gets better the more you crank it. Funnily enough, this works just as well with ‘Rock N Roll Is Getting Louder’, where the killer bass groove returns. Add cowbell, a lyrical theme of motorcycles and guitars, then shake it but don’t stir it, and you have an instant classic Gilby track.


The warm production is perfect for the laid-back groove of ‘Rusted and Busted’. Again, a slow burner that benefits from repeated plays. Overdriven power chords, handclaps and that unmistakable vocal drawl, blend together in harmony, what’s not to like here? Closer ‘She Won’t Fight Fair’ is a goodtime glam stomper. A cool riff and powerhouse drums drive the song along towards an anthemic chorus with just a hint of Adam and The Ants in the backing vocal department if I’m not mistaken.


‘The Gospel Truth’ is a solid return to form from Gilby Clarke. No cover versions, no ballads, just 10 killer, groove heavy rock songs, influenced by the songwriter’s love of English bands like The Faces and The Stones. Sure, it ain’t no ‘Pawnshop Guitars’, but it is a fine collection of effortlessly cool songs, delivered with the fire and passion of a road worn rock n’ roll veteran with nothing to prove and much still to give.


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Author: Ben Hughes