A very wise man (and record producer) once told me that he thought “some of the best songs ever written start with a chorus.” I argued back that in rock that’s not usually the done thing, you build to the hook, but he then went on to list a whole host of Atlantic Soul, Tamla Motown and Stax tunes just to prove his theory, and it’s something that’s obviously stuck with me to this day.

Whether producer James Bragg had the same conversation during the recording of the long awaited eighth studio album from London Oi!/streetpunk legends Cock Sparrer (Bragg returning to duty following his sterling work on the band’s ‘Forever’ opus), I’ll probably never know, but it’s exactly how ‘Hand On Heart’ begins. BOSH! Straight into the chorus of ‘With My Hand On My Heart’ and this 2 and half minute belter is an instant classic.

What quickly becomes obvious though is whatever chats were had, this time around the Sparrer boys are doing things a little bit different. Yes ‘Hand On Heart’ is quintessentially the band we all know and love, but this time around they are (just like Desperate Measures have done with their recent album) pushing the punk rock envelope just a little bit more. Take the distorted guitar and thumping drum introduction that segues into the fantastic ‘Mind Your Own Business’ for example, is the hook here the gang vocal chorus or the guitar riff? I’ll let you decide, but for me it’s one of the many highlights that ‘Hand On Heart’ has to offer, and yeah this could finally be the sound the band has always looked for from a studio record.

‘I Belong To You’ is up next, and this is a song that if you could cut it open would positively bleed Cock Sparrer, as would ‘No Way Out’ which follows at the album’s mid-point, the latter reminding me of the band circa the ‘Here We Stand’ era (a record which is now 17 years old, jeez). This is feelgood music to shine your cherry reds to getting ready for a Friday night on the town… classic Cock Sparrer.

Talking of which, the lyrically brilliant ‘Rags to Riches’ is all about just that; dressing to impress and having a sense of self pride whatever the world can throw at you. Something that the chugging ‘Take It On The Chin’ (a track that had previously featured the ‘Garry Bushell presents: Oi! 40 Years Untamed’ LP) echoes and it’s at this point I have to say that its tremendous to hear Colin McFaull in such fine voice, delivering some of his most impassioned work to date.

That punk rock envelope I mentioned earlier gets well and truly ripped to shreds by the time we reach the opening bars of ‘One Way Ticket’. Is this the band writing for a yet to be filmed Bond movie theme? Whatever it is, it’s epic, and the early-70s Slade-mid section is absolute bloody genius, as is the “Where are they?” vocal hook that drives home the pounding ‘Nowhere To Be Found’, a song that could easily have come from (Sparrer guitarist Daryl Smith’s other band) Argy Bargy’s superb ‘Hopes Dreams Lies & Schemes’ album.

Oh, and then there’s my real highlight of ‘Hand On Heart’, the beautiful, (yeah you read that right) ‘My Forgotten Dream’. The string section arranged by Simon Dobson (who’s worked with everyone from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to Bring Me The Horizon) is like a ray of spring sunshine cutting through the clouds on this most wonderful of Cock Sparrer moments, and even the hardest of heart listening to this is going to melt just a little bit, trust me on this one.

Which leaves us just enough time for the album’s final track ‘Here We Stand’, a boisterous call to arms kind of affair, cut from the same cloth as ‘One By One’ from ‘Forever’, and if this really does go on to prove to be the band’s final hurrah, what a way to end it all eh?

There’s no one out there that writes Oi!/streetpunk anthems quite like Cock Sparrer, and that’s a fact. That they have taken their magic songwriting formula and augmented it with new ideas and techniques fifty-two years after the band first got together shows their continued commitment to be the band other band’s look up to when it comes to punk rock music.

‘Hand On Heart’ is released on 5th April 2024 via Captain Oi!/Cherry Red Records on a multitude of formats to suit everyone’s needs and you can catch the band live at two exclusive album release shows at  O2 Shepherds Bush Empire – Saturday 6th April 2024 and O2 Academy Glasgow – Saturday 13th April 2024.

Hand on heart, punk rock doesn’t get much better than this, so get your copy on pre-order NOW! Here



Author: Johnny Hayward

Welcome to Episode 16 of our little Podcast where DD And Hotshot bring you some top tunes from the archives. We have some brand new tunes from current records that have either just been released or are about to be released as well as tunes from the archives such as Joe Strummers demo outtake of ‘Coma girl’ that is taken from his boxset 002.

First up in this Episode is a Steve Lillywhite recording of Johnny Thunders recording ‘Leave Me Alone’ recorded with current Damned bass player Paul Gray alongside drummer Steve Nicol. It was eventually released on a 10″ EP on Remarquable Records alongside three other tracks. It was a remarkable time for Thunders who went on to release ‘So Alone’ with a veritable host of bonafide Superstars, spawning his best work (arguably) that included the epic ‘You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory’.

Next up Hotshot picked a Hanny J track ‘Days Felt Like Years’ From her 2019 EP ‘Possession’. HAnny is known for her bass playing in Melbourne punks Clowns but this change of pace offers an insight into her talents as a songwriter and singer.

Ming City Rockers have just completed a new album and whilst we wait for them to start dropping details of when we can expect to hear songs of fit you’ll have to make do with ‘Desperate’ from their last album ‘Lime’ which was released early in 2023. We’ve already had the one-track drop so hopefully, it’s soon when we’ll get news.

Guitar pop indie kids Ash released a great new album late last year and have just released it as an extended option ‘Race The Night’ comes out with an extra raft of tracks. If it’s classic tracks you’re after then look no further than Misfits classic ‘Hybrid Moments’ lifted from the Box set version ‘Static Age’. Digitally remastered from the band’s classic debut – You can’t argue that Early Misfits didn’t deliver and anyone whos seen them play recently can testify that they still have it.

Scandinavian punks The Good The Bad And The Zugly are about to release something of a compilation album based on B sides of singles and a new cut that we play spanning the band’s 15 years of doing this. ‘Decade Of Regression’ hits the shops on the 5th of April. Catch them on tour now!

Next up The Drowns knock out their single ‘Ketamine And Cola’ from the album ‘Blacked Out’ get it off Pirates Press and I can promise you – you won’t be disappointed.

Jumping back to Scandinavia the pair offer up The Backstreet Girls and ‘Boogie Woman’ lifted from their latest album of loud infectious rock n roll ‘In Lust We Trust’. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it which is the mantra the band adhere to and continues to turn out top tunes and top albums.

Joe Strummer gets aired and a demo of ‘Coma Girl’ lifted from his second box set ‘002’ The Mescaleros years. It’s hard to believe that Strummer passed in 2002 and those studio albums still sound fresh and relevant all these years later. This is one of the early outtakes of the track and still, I champion it as his most outstanding solo post Clash record. The box set is well worth investigating full of artefacts and really well designed.

Who doesn’t love Slade? I guess if you’re still reading and you hit the link to play the podcast then you’re going to love this live recording which was recently released on splatter vinyl. ‘Them Kinda Monkeys Can’t Swing’ is a barnstorming opener and this version is particularly good. After a quick check, I can correct myself and say this recording was made from a few nights at the theatre in 1975 so right smack in the middle of the band’s pomp. Captured for a BBC performance Slade are remembered by a slew of fine albums that have just had the rerelease treatment and this is one not to miss alongside the Reading performance that the pair chat about. If you’ve never delved into the Slade archive then what better place to start than a live album stacked with absolute bangers. there aren’t many frontmen with a set of pipes like Holders and on this song he gives his vocals a damn good workout.

Maverick Ryan Adams recently dropped five albums on the same day (now that doesn’t happen every day) one of those albums particularly piqued my attention and ‘Skulls’ is lifted from the album ‘1985’. A daunting and huge back catalogue maybe if you start from this recent album drop you have pretty much the whole sound of the guy in one day – five albums mind and all crammed with tunes. Try him.

Gene Loves Jezebel recently released an album on Cleopatra Records ‘x – Love Death Sorrow’ and it contained a very mixed bag in as much as there were Four covers with the originals and one that caught our ears in the classic post-punk/ New Wave ‘Another Girl Another Planet’ but put their Gothic twist and owned The Only Ones classic taking it somewhere we weren’t expecting but thoroughly enjoyed.

NWOBHM aficionados might baulk at our ignorance when we encounter the recent Cherry Red Records compilation ‘All Systems Go’ and the Crucifixion track ‘Jailbait’. The beauty of these retro boxsets is that you discover bands like this that you might have missed first time around. Don’t take my word for it hit the podcast and get on it.

I think it’s the first Replacements track we’ve dived into on the podcast certainly the first one lifted from the superb ‘Tim’ album box set that came out last year with a superb remix that elevates the album from what we were used to. Possibly hearing the one track in isolation doesn’t do it justice but ‘Kiss Me On The Bus’ is a belter and if you’re new to the Replacements then this is a quality album/box set to dive into it also includes some fantastic live recordings. one of Americas best gifts to music ever – you can take that to the bank.

Finally, on this episode, Laura Jane Grace closes off the show with the title track off her new solo album ‘Hole In My Head’ an album that offers the listener her usual variety of electric and acoustic songs as she rages against the machine. Its her fourth album and this is just a taste of what to expect from another fantastic album. Punk, Folk Rock, Acoustic, Rebel Rousing Grace is compulsive listening and this album maintains the super high standard of songwriting be it as a solo artist or fronting Against Me! or Laura Jane Grace & the Devouring Mothers.

I’m sure you’ll agree if you can understand our poetical Welsh voices we do have the gift of the best music available whatever variety it might be. Join in – let us know what you think. If you have a request or a topic you’d like us to play/discuss then get in touch.

Listen-Folow-Like-Share. Thanks from the pair of us.

To understand just how influential (and indeed shocking) Venom, Newcastle’s very own masters of mayhem and metal, were back in the early to mid-‘80s you simply need to read Shane Embury’s sleeve notes which accompany this soon to be released reissue of the band’s second Hammersmith Odeon headline show from 1985. As sixteen-year-olds Venom really was the band we all wanted to be in, and alongside the Napalm Death man’s words of wisdom, Antton Lant (brother of Venom frontman Cronos/Conrad and one time drummer with the band too) also shares some insight into what it was like to not only grow up around, but also eventually be a part of, such a musical phenomenon.

With both musicians perfectly setting the scene for the madness to begin, I take a trip back in time and let Abaddon, Cronos and Mantas whisk me on the rip ride that was their World Possession Tour Part 2.

I was lucky enough to ride on the wings of the Hydra (or Fred Day’s mini bus to be exact) and catch Venom live on this very tour, attending the Birmingham Odeon show two nights before this Hammy O gig, this being a hastily arranged jaunt after the UK leg of the tour had been curtailed (and the Cardiff show I had front row tickets for was axed) following the band’s shock announcement that most of the venue’s booked wouldn’t allow the band to use their full pyrotechnic overloaded production. And having also been lucky enough to have witnessed the legendary Seventh Date of Hell show at Hammersmith Odeon back in the June of 1984, and still trying to grow my eyebrows back following that hotter than hell show, I was not about to miss the Godfathers of Black Metal return to the UK stage…so off to England’s second city we set. More of which in a second.

With the concert film having been initially released as ‘Alive in 85’ by Embassy video and then subsequently re-released on numerous formats by various companies over the years, this is, as far as I’m aware, the first time a UK record company have been audacious enough to bring together both the audio and the video from the band’s October 8th show into one hell of a value for money set. The live package capturing fifteen of the nineteen songs the trio played that night in London and fully utilising a multi camera unit to get (perhaps a little too) up close and personal with the band to showcase the metallic maelstrom that Venom always has been.

Then, newer tracks from the band’s fourth album ‘Possessed’ like set opener ‘Too Loud (For The Crowd)’, the anthemic lead single ‘Nightmare’ and a blistering ‘Satanachist’ all fit in faultlessly alongside such genre defining classics as ‘Black Metal’ and ‘In Nomine Satanas’ and whilst the show is nowhere near as chaotic as that initial Hammersmith headliner, what it lacks in levitating drum risers and bleeding/smashed guitars it more than makes up for in the band’s supersonic punch. The trio sounding and looking nothing like a band about to lose its guitarist (and resident ninja it would appear) watching the DVD once again.

The pyrotechnic bursts are conserved for a colossal sounding ‘7 Gates of Hell’ and the final flurry of ‘Bloodlust’ and encore ‘Witching Hour’, and I have to be honest and say that I distinctly remember coming away from the Birmingham show feeling somewhat underwhelmed by the band after the sonic and visual assault on the senses I had previously witnessed them deliver (it also didn’t help their cause that the Paul Baloff fronted Exodus supported them on the night and totally destroyed the place) but here thirty eight years on and without any of those “in the moment” distractions I found this ‘Live From Hammersmith Odeon Theatre’ to be one of the most rewarding (if that’s the right word to use here) re-issues I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing this year.

So, in the words of the mighty Cronos, “Come on, turn it up!”

‘Live From Hammersmith Odeon Theatre’ is released on 27th October 2023 via Dissonance/Cherry Red Records.

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Author: Johnny Hayward

Completists and people who have never heard of Hanoi Rocks keep reading. Everyone else not curious please look away and yes I know there are complete vinyl box sets out there as well as several one-stop box sets but there’s always room for another Hanoi Rocks catch-all set.

What we have here is a very neat and tidy summary of the world’s bestust band and all their hard work in one clamshell box spread over five CD’s. For those well rounded individuals who always knew Hanoi Rocks were the greatst band to emerge from the beautiful 1980s their musical output might well have been flawed and it moght well have been scatterguned over the early to mid eighties but they never dipped below better than anything else you were listening to and they alway did things differently to other bands and they were such an underated bunch of reprobates to ever lay down music.

It always makes me laugh when people say it’s music for fans of Guns N Roses or they were a glam band because your average supermarket music-buying Guns fan or your die-hard glam fan wouldn’t have a clue. Call me a music snob but Hanoi was far more than a glam band and it was they who influenced Guns n Roses and a whole bunch of tripe that was to follow in the decade of decadence. Hanoi was a rock n roll band who were more influenced by punk and what went before them in the 70s – a perfect mix of The Clash and T Rex as well as adding equal measures of early Japan with Chuck Berry they had Jaggers swagger and the elegance of Bowie and weren’t afraid to mix it up from disc on and the magnificent bass drum count in of ‘Tragedy’ with the familiar Yaffa rumble it has never ever lost its flavour. A youthful Monroe leads this bunch of renegades through a magnificent album with all its imperfections and charming backing vocals it’s still the beating heart of a magnificent journey and an album I’ve never tired of.

The skank of ‘Village Girl’ to the teary ‘Don’t You Ever Leave Me’. The Harmonica honk of ‘Lost In The City’ is still a magnificent blast of youthful energy – the levels are everywhere the mix is chaotic but that was the appeal, too fast too young too fuckin beautiful. McCoy’s vocals howling over the top is brilliant and the energy that drives on this record. Who else was doing songs like ‘Cheyanne’? it’s beautiful from the bv’s to the drum pound and runs down of the Yaffa bassline to the strain on Monroe’s vocals its still one of the greatest debut albums ever. I’ll fight anyone who disagrees.

The recent Svart real mix of ‘Oriental Beat’ this one brings on mixed feelings for me now and I wish and hope the others get the same treatment if it’s available. ‘Motorvatin’ is still a banger which is why it’s still prominent in today’s Monroe set. ‘No Law Or Order’ is still one of the best songs Strummer never wrote. Ending with ‘Falling Star’ was and is a tear-jerker of the finest order.

I’m trying to imagine what it must be like to take the plunge and hear these albums as one package for the first time and not have to wait in real time over half a decade for them to unfold. My memory is foggy due to the fact it’s 40 years ago (holy shit, but I’m still here) ‘Self Destruction Blues’ was or shouldn’t have ever been but thank god it did. A million miles away from the debut production-wise and songwriting wise but hell, it still gives me chills playing these songs loudly and whilst I might not have played some of these songs for years when I do I still get that feeling of “hell, what a band, what a record” how weren’t these one of the biggest bands on the planet?

Disc four is obviously ‘Back To Mystery City’ and where they truly hit their stride – every one a banger from ‘Malibu Beach’ through ‘Tooting Bec Wreck’ to the beautiful ‘Until I Get You’ one of the finest soft songs for tough guys ever written. Razzles’ touch and understanding of what was needed on the loud ballad is exceptional. ‘Lick Summer Love’ is awesome and sets the tone for the spectacular ‘Beating Gets Faster’ deep dive classics I think the kids would call these album tracks that don’t get the oxygen they deserve.

This box set might be a time capsule and something awesome to discover but to hear ‘Mystery City again for the first time whilst pawing over the artwork would be priceless and some kid is going to discover that when they pick this up in a record store or online. Imagine hearing ‘All Those Wasted Years’ for the first time and wishing you were forty years older haha! what a beautiful thought ‘Taxi Driver’ Boom heads gone!

Maybe if this had had a sixth disc full of unheard demos or lost tracks it would sell like hotcakes to the Hanoi (de)generation looking for a fix. If you know a kid whos just discovering music and looking for a collection that will blow their mind then this might just be the clamshell all encompassing boxset you need. If for no other reason other than being a completist sucker I applaud Cherry Red for keeping the Hanoi heart beating – God bless em and God bless all those who sailed in the good ship Hanoi Rocks you truly were game changes for some of us punks looking for our band. Buy It!

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Author: Dom Daley

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

“I’ve got Heavy Metal music in my blood, And I’d like to give it to you if I could.”

So reads the mission statement of Edinburgh’s finest (and perhaps only) exponents of the NWOBHM scene, Holocaust.

Initially getting together to make music in the late ’70s, the band finally inked a deal with independent label Phoenix Record And Filmworks, who in turn released not only the legendary 1980 single from which the lyrics above were taken but also the rest of the records that come together to form this extensive 6 CD set from Cherry Red imprint H.N.E Recordings

It’s the band’s 1981 debut album ‘The Nightcomers’ that is without doubt their most renowned release (for reasons I’ll come to in a minute), featuring vocalist Gary Lettice, guitarists John Mortimer and Ed Dudley, bassist Robin Begg, along with drummer Nicky Arkles. This 9 track album is a bonafide long lost classic from the NWOBHM age, seamlessly blending the slightly more punky edged vocal delivery of Lettice with the riff and roll metal of his bandmates. It’s no surprise that the soon to be members of some band called Metallica were huge fans, in fact if you listen to the likes of ‘Death or Glory’ or the six minute plus album title track, things almost play out like an early blueprint for ‘Kill ‘Em All’, albeit played at a much less frantic tempo. Yup, those four kookie Californian doods did more than cover Holocaust’s ‘The Small Hours’ for their ‘$5.98 E.P. – Garage Days Re-Revisited’ EP that’s for sure.  

What is surprising reading the excellent, and highly informative, 20 page John Tucker penned booklet that is included within this clamshell box set, is just how widely criticised Holocaust were by the UK music media. You can count the number of positive reviews within the booklet on two fingers, and even then, one of them is for one song, a track on the band’s 1984 released ‘No Man’s Land’ album. This is something I really do struggle to understand, given the fact that ‘Smokin’ Valves’ the opening track from the band’s debut (and their second single) is an absolute cracker of a tune and one that should have seen early 80s Friday youth club discos up and down the country packed full of spotty lads throwing their dandruff into the night air over.

As it was with such apathy to their debut album via the mainstream media, I think I only ever got to hear the album a couple of times through an old mate of mine who bought pretty much anything released under the NWOBHM banner. I certainly recall him having the 1981 released ‘Live From The Raw Loud N’ Live Tour’ EP that featured 4 tracks taken from the band’s long form VHS release that was available through ads in Sounds magazine for the hefty tag of £29.99. Obviously at that price point back in 1981 you’d have to be a very rich (or lucky) teenager to afford a copy, so its great to hear the full 80 minute soundtrack to that video included here as CD 2. Recorded at the Nite Club, Edinburgh on 10th September 1981, it’s a warts ‘n’ all kind of recording, but given that fact that some of their peers (yeah, I’m looking at you Diamond Head and Motorhead) were also releasing supposed live videos that actually saw them miming to album tracks, I doff my hat to the lads for having the stones to release such a raw loud n’ live document.  In fact, it’s a recording the band (or maybe it was their record label) must have had a lot of faith in as it’s included again here in part via the 1983 released ‘Live (Hot Curry & Wine) album.

1983 also saw ex-Holocaust guitarist Ed Dudley emerge with a new band under the Hologram banner (the LP coming complete with a sticker that bore the legend “Holocaust are now Hologram”) for their one and only release, the ‘Steal The Stars’ album. Totally at odds with the backs to the wall rifferama he’d constructed with his former bandmates, ‘Steal The Stars’ ploughs out a more melodic rock furrow. It’s an album that kind of reminds me of Diamond Head’s ‘Canterbury’ album, perhaps being a step too far ahead of the time for its own good, and when he stays away from using the top end of his dog scaring vocal range Gordon Band puts in a top bluesy vocal shift here too.     

It’s the aforementioned 1984 released ‘No Mans Land’ album that not only saw Holocaust finally return, but also get one and a bit positive reviews from the mainstream media. This time around the band was reduced to guitarist John Mortimer playing pretty much everything along with session drummer Steve Cowen, and to be honest it’s a bit of a let-down when played alongside the band’s debut record. It’s okay in places but Howard Johnson was indeed right when he said ‘Satellite City’ is without doubt the best song on the album and the second side of the album is way better than the first. As such it’ll probably be the CD I return to least in this set.

Which is something you won’t find me saying about the sixth and final CD in this set. This 13 track disc brings together the band’s singles from their ‘Heavy Metal Mania’ debut from 1980 through to their 1982 12” ‘Comin Through’ which features the last Lettice fronted new music the band would release.  Every track contained on this disc is designed to give you a dose of headbanger’s neck just like when you were a teenager, so go dig out your junkie juice soaked cut off, clip up your bullet belt (albeit with a fair few additional bullets these days no doubt) and buckle up your studded gauntlets to fully complete the listening experience. 

All together now.

“I love to rock, I love to get down low. I love to rock…rock ‘n’ roll.”

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Author: Johnny ‘Heavy Metal’ Hayward

  • In-depth box set, delving right back to the band’s pub rock roots right up until the present.
  • A celebration of Girlschool’s 40 plus years of rocking the globe, kicking off with their independently released 45 ‘Take It All Away’ b/w ‘It Could Be Better’.

Formed at school in the mid-70s,  Kim McAuliffe and bassist Enid Williams joined forces as Painted Lady. It wasn’t until 78 that Girlschool formed. Guitarist Kelly Johnson and drummer Denise Dufort in April of ’78.

With their Debut album ‘Demolition’ breaking into the UK Top 30 a couple of years later, it was their follow-up ‘Hit And Run’ (1981) where I got interested. As a teenager, I couldn’t get enough of their EP ‘Valentines Day Massacre’ recorded with label mates Motörhead as HeadGirl. 1982’s ‘Wildlife’ EP would be Enid’s last outing with Girlschool for a while, as she was replaced on bass by Gil Weston for ‘Screaming Blue Murder’ (1982). Listening back to the two albums and EP many years later they were really onto something with their punky attitude mixed with the hard-rocking delivery they were playing by their own rules in a very difficult market with only The Runaways on the other side of the pond offering all-female line ups a fighting chance and they certainly had the chops to stand shoulder to shoulder with their peers.

There is a lot of music to get through and with a steady swirl of players through the ever-revolving door saw a dip in the quality of the music with the real high points being those first two albums by what has to be the classic lineup. There is however a whole load of interest in Disc 4 in this set featuring many rare B-Sides and non-album songs, as well as demos dating way back in 1978 right up to 2002, as well as Disc 5, being a really rare live outing from pre-Girlschool Painted Lady that is a must own for any fans of the band and hearing what they sounded like pre ‘Demolition’. To round off this excellent deep dive you also get sleeve notes from NWOBHM expert John Tucker, as well as plenty of rare photos from the band’s archive.

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Author: Dom Daley

Thirty fucking years! Where the fuck did they go? With Keds sadly not around to enjoy this wonderful remastered expanded anniversary release of arguably their finest album ‘The First OF Too Many’ gets a truly magnificent deluxe makeover that any Senseless Things fan will adore.

I’m always a little skeptical about the remastered push but I decided to play the original back to back track by track and after about five seconds I gave up because the newly remastered version is infinitely brighter and sharper and more focussed and louder than the original and on that front Cherry Red have done a magnificent job without all the packaging that comes with it this really is a steal as £20.

The 3CD expanded and revisited the anniversary edition of the band’s second album ‘The First Of Too Many’ was the band at the peak of their powers with a relentless touring schedule they knew exactly what they wanted to sound like and had crafted the tunes to perfection.

From the awesome cover art that was provided by comic artist Jamie Hewlett, creator of Tank Girl and later Gorillaz. The surviving members of the band decided to honour the memory of Mark by revisiting this classic album some 30 years later, digging up the original master tapes and producing a fantastic new edition which is included here, along with the original 1991 mix of the record. The CD top trumps the vinyl press simply by having the added bonus of the live recording taken at their Camden Palace performance from June 1991 on a 24-track Mobile Recording Unit, the tapes have been rescued, restored and given a full new mix again by the band’s own Morgan Nicholls.

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Sure there is an elephant in the room but to get through this album you’re going to have to park that particular beast and just listen to the record a few times purely on its own merit. Sure Pete was/is a huge part of what made Buzzcocks what they were and that element is no longer there. However, Steve is also a massive part of the equation and he is very much still here and on that basis, he has every right to continue under the name Buzzcocks. So, on that note welcome ladies and gentlemen to my five penneth worth on the brand spanking new Buzzcocks record ‘Sonics In The Soul’.

The record was proceeded by a very nice 10″ EP that contained the opening salvo of ‘Senses Out Of Control’. Now, Buzzcocks had two singers and for me two very different styles there was on the one hand Pete’s pop melodies in contrast to Steves’s more aggressive style more confrontational style so if I were to describe ‘Senses Out Of Control’ as a Steve song for the purposes of this review then you should have a decent idea of where I’m coming from. It’s a banger of an opening track with that Buzzsaw riff thrashing away all downstrokes towards the melodic chorus. It’s a call to arms and with some neat walking bass lines going on under the riff it’s getting multiple plays here after I “got it” and it’s a fine blast of fuck you from the legend that is Steve Diggle.

Are we sitting comfortably? ‘Manchester Rain’ is another uptempo blast but this time with a tip of the hat to Shelley with a nice hook on that lead guitar. It was one of those instant tunes that grabbed me from the first play. Loving the guitar work throughout from the shimmering effect to that one string lick that we all associate with Buzzcocks.

What do I get? Well, I get an album that has a whole bunch of excellent tunes and as I went into this with an open mind I feel I’ve been rewarded tenfold. What a great record from Steve, Chris and Danny – it’s always been all about the music and this record is a worthy contender. Buzzcocks – I love ’em.

Buy Here

Author: Dom Daley

Lee Love Affair – EP (Lux Noise Records) A man that doesn’t need any introduction other than to say Brother Lee Love has gone Rogue on those Hip Priests and knocked up a four-track EP and got Lux Noise to snap it up and release the bad boy.

Like an explosion of Garage Rock and Roll through the medium of Northern Soul as the guitars then bass line kicks in on ‘Hold Me Down’ a big rumbling hip swinging foot twisting slab of is kicking through my speakers. It’s Detroit Baby but UK Style. What a choon this is. Of course, it isn’t a wall of noise like the day job but it’s got swing and a catchy chorus and weighs in like equal measures of International Noise Conspiracy and some of that 80s alternative underground post-punk rock n roll courtesy of the likes of 60 ft Dolls. ‘Better Man’ has a choppy dry electric guitar riff that is a straight-down-the-line Rock n Rolla heading to the chorus with some sweet guitar licks along the way – excellent stuff.

‘Real Cool Time’ is of course self-explanatory the clue is in the title garage rock, it’s got the beating heart of Ann Arbour and a honking rhythm of Detroit. Wrapping up this four-track dalliance is ‘AAA’ which has some “Greebo” scene going on with yet another strong melody and some wicked playing, all that’s missing is some honking horns and that one-finger piano roll and this would be perfect. EP of the month? Fucking right it is

The Penetrators – ‘Skateboard Girl’ (code 213 records) Another fantastic 7″ this time from New Yorks The Penetrators. With a laid back New York Groove thats handed down from Lou Reed and David Johannsen this single has it going on from the NYC licks to the sweet handclaps The Penetrators have penned a super summer seven inch. Claiming to be the kings of Basement Rock wont be too far away from the truth if they keep releasign records this good. Check out the dynamic duo on Facebook

Scumbag Millionaires – ‘So Long’ (Screaming Crow Records) From Gothenburg, Sweden, Scumbag Millionaire have offered up a killer track for Screaming Crow Records Action Rock Jukebox 45 series. These dirty bastards took ABBA’s 70’s hit “So Long” and injected it with a whole heap of Scumbag Rock n Fuckin’ Roll and a little attitude and a heap of swing. It’s given a make under not over and sounds terrific. The B side is their own “Gluehead!” which just about makes this the record of the week in my eyes. A fantastic slab of wax and just what a 45 should be. What a killer 45rpm, it’s even a large holed 7″ pressed on regular black vinyl and limited orange vinyl with a custom 45 adapter,  sticker, and jukebox title card. YES, these are made to go on a 45 playing jukebox!. Beautiful workScumbags and those at Screaming Crow – Top of the class!

RMBLR – ‘Breakin’ It Off’ (Self Release) RMBLR are one of those bands that have pedigree and history that dictates that it’s impossible to release a bad record. This new track was released without fanfare via Bandcamp and just oozes quality. What else can I say? It’s a banger of a Rock and Roll tune and RMBLR just get “IT” whatever “IT” is.

You’ll be singing along before the end of the first chorus and fist punching the air in your cut-off battle jacket wondering where the party is. It’s only Rock and Roll and I like it RMBLR just delivers…again Check it out Here

Andy McCoy – ‘Take Me I’m Yours’ (Cleopatra Records) Lifted from his brand new covers album Andy takes on this classic Squeeze track and being one of the finer tracks off the album, He nails it McCoy style. It maintains the original groove and melody but Andy gives it the McCoy treatment and twists it before draping it as only he can. It’s a grower of a tune and discarding the video that is a bit bizarre but so McCoy it’s well worth checking out ‘Jukebox Junkies’ is exactly that full of mystery, intrigue, and quality from one of the undergrounds greatest ever talents

Tropical Fuck Storm – ‘Ann’ (Joyful Noise Rexcordings) What a twisted take on The Stooges but the video is pure genius. Lifted from the EP. Bassist Fiona Kitschin steps up to the microphone on a cover that swaps Ron Asheton‘s scorching guitar part for a deranged sound collage of guitar freakouts, siren noises, and electronics. The EP also has a Talking Heads cover to twist your mellon. Will the EP be up their with their satanic slumber party who knows but covering the Stooges is a great starting point.

Wolf Rd – ‘Burn All Of Your Bridges’ Noisy shouty kids mixing up melodic metal and hardcore sludgy riffs. Might be good in a tiny club at ear shattering volume but in my liounge on a laptop it just doesn’t cut through to be fair its got tones of Chester Benningtons Linkin Park tip but its not for everyone but it does have an energy. Make your own mind up. Chicago noise bringers can be found on Facebook Here

Belushi Speed Ball – ‘Magic Conch’ (sonaBlast Records) Great name for a band and releasing it on Nintendo 64 sort of tells you where this arty goofy combo are coming from with their super fast punk rock with full on goofyness and wacko solos from the Berkley school of music speed licks – check out the video and it should all make sense or not either way its made the cut

THE GASÖLINES – ‘Rum Runner 500’ (Speed Club Records) described as high octane rockers is just about on the money. Loud guitars oily injection fueled Rock n Roll. The song is well constructed and I’m sure the guy live it like they love it and walk the walk. If they have some variety in the songwriting then they could be onto a winner with it. I look forward to what they serve up on this evidence.

As a follow up to their debut album ‘Rum Runner 500’ is the perfect take on Cars, booze and hellraising whats not to like? Facebook

Gun – ‘Word Up’ (Cherry Red Records) Glaswegian rockers GUN are back with their latest release from the forthcoming album, ‘The Calton Songs’ and finally it’s the turn of ‘Word Up’ TODAY, 28 July. So tell all the boys and girls, Tell your brother, your sister, And mama too…  This massive track was originally covered by GUN in 1994, winning an MTV Europe Music Award for Best Cover and featuring on the Top 5 album ‘Swagger’. The song itself is of course a retooled version of the evergreen Cameo hit from 1986, but now in 2022 it has been reimagined and revived and sounds amazing. This new version is a totally different beast to the one that the fans know. The track now also boasts the vocal talents of  Beverley Skeete & The Sisterhood [ Noel Gallagher, The Chemical Brothers, Mick Jagger] and The Selecter provide some phenomenal Brass. The band are describing it as the ‘Word Up Summer Jam’ and it has all the energy that implies!

Dead City Ruins – ‘The Sorcerer’ (AFM Records) Melbourne’s DEAD CITY RUINS new single & video ‘The Sorcerer’, lifted from their new album ‘Shockwave’ out on 19th August. Its a big phat slice of Rock hailing back to the likes of Zepplin and Sabbath influences with big grooves and musicianship.