Another day another Wildhearts album to review (it seems like only a few months since the last album and subsequent follow-up EP, even though it wasn’t) Along with a UK tour that actually tours the UK, imagine that folks. Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, The Wildhearts. A great British institution in their own right, never mind if Motorhead moved next door and killed your lawn imagine what your lawn would look like with these likely lads rocking up and sonically blasting this bad boy out – every blade of grass on your garden and any other surrounding properties would be gary gonners. It’s time for them to mellow out and do an album of ’21st Century Love Songs’ or something like that (Not!) One look at the superb artwork might be a glimpse into whats coming.
’21st Century Love Songs’ is opened by the title track and like a pack of rabid dogs, they’re all over you, barking and straining at the leash – kicking the living crap out of your ears before you have time to get comfortable and settle into the bloody record. Sonically speaking, it’s a full-frontal assault but the melodies herein are lush and totally at odds with the aural barrage you’re getting from the thunderous rhythm section and dart attacks off Ginger and CJ who, let’s be honest, are on fuckin’ fire! I’m not kidding its like hearing an album in one song – like a rollercoaster of riffs and melodies that feel like your head is going to explode you wonder where the hell this is heading and can it be sustained. A fantastic opener and a real statement of intent – Ladies and Gentlemen you are now experiencing the new Wildhearts record, and its intense, beautiful, wonderfully loud and fuking exciting. Welcome!
Now get ready for some serious Wildhearts Bop with some fine bass runs that make your feet move on ‘Remember These Days’ with some great harmonies and gang vocals which the band does so well. The song twists and turns throughout filling every corner with music like an explosion of colour.
Take a sharp breath folk because the grunt on ‘Splitter’ is off the scale. The mix is nuts with the lead vocals way down and competing like battling tops for space which adds to the controlled chaos that’s burrowing into your head. fan-fucking-tastic tune and one that will go down well live as the slide guitar spins round and dive bombs through the mix and this is only a few songs deep.
If you thought the band touched on heavy on ‘Renaissance Men’ then hold on to your knickers because ‘Institutional Submission’ hacks and slashes like a frenzied killer. It’s like early Mayhem but done by big boys who aren’t wet behind the ears as it goes in for the kill with an underlying melody that Ginger does so so well as it drops and takes a breather. I think it was Wayne who said intensity intensified he must have been onto something because that’s what this is. Wildhearts disciples will love it and as the song meanders back up to speed.
We’ve all seen the video for ‘Sleepaway’ right? now I went to boil the kettle at the start and even though the neighbours closed their curtains I thought it sounded like a Who track with a swinging pair of bollocks and plenty of clout but that might just be me but it has a bit of boogie in it as well, great track.
It would be fair to say that ‘You Do You’ is the closest the record gets to what one might consider a Wildherts album track. Nothing wrong with it at all and I’m sure it will grow and melodies and lyrics will jump out on me but its sandwiched between the two tracks that I’d already heart dozens of times so I might revisit it in due course but ‘Sort Your Fucking Shit Out’ is a belter and a song I loved the first time I heard it. Big chug on the riff-o-la and some terrific vocals to be fair. As far away from the grunt and rowdiness elsewhere perfected on the album but here is what one might describe as a toe-tapper.
With three tracks left the band crank it up with some filthy guitars cranking out the riffs on ‘Directions’ it’s like showing off the way the band goes from heavy as a breeze block to the head to lush melody and back again with a change in tempo and direction like twisting the top off a pop bottle and then the fizz gushes – well, that ‘Directions’ that is. Calling the penultimate track ‘A Physical Exorcism’ it’s pretty much what you’ve just experienced my friends an exhausting, mentally draining, emotionally uplifting, life-affirming, joyous listening experience courtesy of these four Wildhearts bastards. Rock and Roll can be all things to all men and women but it’s fantastic that we still have functioning bands like The Wildhearts who just keep rolling with the punches and churning out albums that challenge and bring happiness and something to look forward to in tough times. A cheeky smile here, a wink there and some heads down go for it loud Rock and Roll bringing it all together. Thank the lord for the Wildhearts and another most excellent album.
Author: Dom Daley
If 2019 was the year the music world once again woke up to The Wildhearts, then 2020 really should have been the year that they cemented their position as the very best seven-legged live band the UK has to offer.
Luckily for me The Wildhearts were one of the last bands I got to see live before the world was consumed by the Covid-19 pandemic, and now when I think back to that amazing Friday night headline slot at Butlin’s Punk & Alternative Weekend – where playing to a largely partisan audience they made so many new friends – I take one look at the track listing of ’30 Year Itch’ (the band’s soon to be released double live album) and I must admit I can’t help get a little robot chubby on at the prospect of hearing the band delivering the goods once again…albeit right here in my living room.
Consisting of 17 tracks spanning the length and breadth of the band’s (almost) three-decade long career – and thankfully avoiding some of the perhaps more obvious tracks – this album was recorded across both The Renaissance Men and Diagnosis tours undertaken by the band in 2019 and achieves what every great live album sets out to achieve by making you feel like you are right back in the audience stage front and centre (don’t worry though as other crowd positions are available if the pit is a bit too rough for you). Plus choosing to work once again with the wizard that is Dave Draper really does add plenty of sonic salt ‘n’ shake to proceedings, making this one of the most remarkable sounding live albums I’ve heard since Exit_International’s ‘Live At Le Pub’. Anyone spot the connection?
From the furry boxing glove opener that is ‘Dislocated’ through to the set closing – best song ever with a music video filmed on a flatbed truck – ‘I Wanna Go Where The People Go’ there is hardly a second to catch your breath as riff after motherfucking riff hit you from every direction, and whilst ‘Let ‘Em Go’ might not be in my list of all-time favourite Wildhearts’ songs it’s impossible not to be swept along in the moment and I suddenly find myself singing along at the top of my voice.
Highlights? Well hearing the likes of the sublimely brutal ‘Urge’ and err anthemic ‘Anthem’ live is most welcome in my house, whilst the huge singalongs that are ‘Sick Of Drugs’ and ‘Vanilla Radio’ are just designed to have you bouncing down the street when you plug this sucker into your in-car stereo system. Of the deeper cuts aired here ‘The Revolution Will Be Televised’ and ‘The Jackson Whites’ perfectly capture the band’s latter years, whilst in ‘Diagnosis’ (which seems to be everyone’s favourite song from 2019’s ‘Renaissance Men’ album) the guys have written perhaps their most ‘Earth V’s’ era sounding song in many a long year, and thus perhaps unintentionally brings them sonically full circle.
Whatever you may think about this point though in this current rich vein of form The Wildhearts really are a 30-year itch you can’t help but scratch, and what more, if you were lucky enough to pre-order this bad boy from the band’s website you should have also have received a bonus 4 track CD of tracks not included on the album including a blistering ‘Top Of The World’ plus a pogotastic ‘Shame On You’ before ‘Nothing Changes But The Shoes’ and ‘My Baby Is A Headfuck’ sends yours truly ambling off down memory lane via two tracks that still sound as awesome as they did when they first got me into The Wildhearts all those years ago.
‘30 Year Itch’ is truly amazing stuff! Make sure you are in on the celebrations when the double album goes back on sale via the band’s website soon.
Buy ’30 Year Itch’ Here
Author: Johnny Hayward
RPM Online Album Of The Year
Well, we’ve reached that time of year again where the writers of RPM were forced into the voting both given a blunt pencil and forced to vote for their album of the year. Unlike a certain General Election result this time I don’t think people were too disappointed with the final result and by a landslide rock and Roll won.
Interestingly this years winner didn’t win any single writers vote but featured very heavily throughout the writers lists more than any other artist or artists so its a fair cop guv and, to be honest, had the live show count been anything to go by it was a landslide and another good year all around. With writers coming from several continents and five different countries there might be a few miles between us but we all have some things in common and one of those is a love for Rock and Roll. I’m sure had it been a Top 20 people would have still had a headache as to what to put in. Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s been a shit year for new music as there were plenty of records released and many of them reviewed on RPM Online and with over 50 albums getting a mention from the team of writers (that’s just their top 10!).
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank not only all the artists who’ve released new records in 2019 and to all the excellent press departments and Labels especially the independent ones who’ve worked tirelessly to bring us the music and obviously to the songwriters and musicians whose work we’ve had many many hours of enjoyment listening to and raving about you know who you are many of whom it’s been a pleasure to get to know throughout the year.
What we’ll do is give the top ten a rundown in reverse order then each individual writers ten albums in no particular order so here goes.
Duff McKagan – ‘Tenderness’ (UMC)
Jim Jone & The Righteous Mind – ‘Collectiv’ (MaSonic Records)
Jesse Malin – ‘Sunset Kids’ (Wicked Cool Records)
Redd Kross – ‘Beyond The Door’ (Merge Records)
Rich Ragany & The Digressions – ‘…Like We’ll Never Make It!…'(Glunk Records)
Andy McCoy – ’21st Century Rocks’ (Ainoa Productions)
Hunt Sales Memorial – ‘Get Your Shit Together’ ( Big Legal Mess Records)
The Hip Priests – ‘Stand For Nothing’ (several independent labels)
The Wildhearts – ‘Renaissance Men’ (Graphite Records)
Michael Monroe – ‘One Man Gang’ (Silver Lining Music)
So congratulations to all the bands who made the RPM Online top ten. Especially Michael Monroe for taking top spot in the hotly contested category as well as all the ones that didn’t there were dozens and dozens of albums released in 2019 that we reviewed. We managed to catch up with a few of the bands who made it onto the pages of RPM Online in 2019 to find out what made it onto their turntables this year and to find out any highlights they might have had. Here is some beginning with Jeff from The Brothers Steve…
“I don’t think I listened to any records that came out in 2019! So I picked my top 5 records that were new to me in 2019!”
2 Albums which spoke to my Country Side:
The long Ryders – ‘Psychedelic Country Soul’ (especially Greenville)
Not an album but the single ‘Fire Ready Aim’ by Green Day which was superb
And The Baby shakes ‘Cause a Scene’ (especially the title track)
As for Highlights, there were Many highlights of 2019 especially Rebellion which went superbly for us and I’m really looking forward to the release of our new album early 2020 as well as playing the Kubix Festival.
Clowns – ‘Nature/Nurture’
TV Crime – ‘Metal Town’
Bitch Queens – ‘City Of Class’
The Drippers – ‘Action Rock’
Schizophonics – ‘People In The Sky’
Clowns – ‘Nature / Nature’
Amyl & The Sniffers – ‘Amyl & The Sniffers’
The Hip Priests – ‘Stand For Nothing’
Saint Agnes – ‘Welcome To Silvertown’
The Schizophonics – ‘People In The Sky’
As for the Highlight of 2019, There are several. Two for Bitch Queens were to put out our brand new album ‘City Of Class’ and to finish our new recording studio to keep on doin’ what we are doin’ far away from the big business.
The Best event this year was Sjock. “What could be better than hanging out with my boys from The Hip Priests and seeing the best Action Rock bands from all around the world! I am looking forward to touring with Bitch Queens in Europe next year and to record a shitload of new singles and split 7“ And of course, there are two of the probably best records 2020 in the pipeline – The Good, the Bad & the Zugly and Kvelertak. 2020 is gonna be good!
Bath Komedia was a new venue for the intrepid travellers from South Wales but we love an adventure and tonight we had to get there on time to catch the support of Janus Stark seeing as we’ve heard the new album and loved what we heard and wanted to see if Gizz Butt could knock it out live. After negotiating the Bath one-way system and eventually finding a place to park by the time we reached the venue the band had already taken the stage and were knocking out songs old and new. they reminded me of a punkier Eureka Machines and Gizz is something of a guitar players guitarist with a great sound in the venue they were entertaining and engaging and the catchy power pop/rock sounded great. these were the perfect opener for The Wildhearts and ending the set with the best track off ‘Great Adventure Cigar’ was a bonus because ‘Every Little Thing Counts’ is just about spot on. I can look forward to hearing a lot more of the band when the album is released hopefully in December.
When it was announced that The Wildhearts were adding another string of dates and that there would be the Renaissance Men tour part 2 I couldn’t wait to get another slice of loud rock’n’roll live-action after catching the boys in Cardiff on the first leg of the tour earlier in the year.
The nearest venue to me was the Komedia in Bath with a couple of hundred miles round trip (on a school night) I planned my latest Wildhearts action. Around 9:15 pm I heard the opening guitar riff to the lead-off track to the bands latest great ep the title track ‘Diagnosis’ and bam the band were on stage and away we go.
The band are tight and as the glorious noize of ‘Diagnosis’ comes to an end the band launch into another Renaissance men soon to be live classic ‘let em go’ and this anthem gets the Bath crowd jumping and singing along with Cj taking lead vocals on the bridge doing the Frank Turner vocals. Next up we have that all-time classic hearts tune ‘I Wanna Go Where The People Go’ and Ginger is on top form with some blistering guitar work and those rough yet melodic vocals of his soaring loud and proud. Some familiar favourites such as ‘Sick Of Drugs’ is welcomed and this night is turning out to be a show and a half as both band and crowd are right up for it in the confines of a really nice tight venue tucked away in the narrow streets of Bath.
‘The Revolution Will Be Televised’ sees the white album being represented and this leads us into ‘My Kinda Movie’. Ginger announces that each band member is taking his turn in picking a track to play live and tonight’s choice is by Danny and what has mister McCormack picked, well he’s treated us to a P.H.U.Q. b-side the stunning “Mindslide” and that throbbing bass of his leads us into a rare treat and what seeing The Wildhearts on form is all about. ‘Caffeine Bomb’ is up next and this fast as lightning track showcases what a machine of a drummer Ritch Battersby is and why he is one of my favourite drummers and boy does he hit those skins hard.
‘Dislocated’ is greeted by this reviewer with a huge smile on my chops as this is my favourite track off ‘The Renaissance Men’ album and the guys blast it out with some real punk rock fury. Great also to hear “Jackson Whites” being blasted through again at a furious pace. A real fan favourite is “Red light green light” and already this set is proving to be an excellent reason to venture out on a School night for a shot of Rock and Roll – could this night get any better?
‘Vanilla Radio’ has the Bath crowd singing “where’s my Elvis” in unison and that leads us into the 5th ‘Renaissance Men’ track of the night ‘The Fine Art Of Deception’ which is another Ginger penned classic. Tonight seems like the night for the lesser-known rare track getting a good airing as we are treated to ‘Action Panzer’ Nestled in with all the classics you’d expect to hear at a Wildhearts show.
The lights come up and with that the band walk off to a thunderous roar of appreciation from the crowd – you’d think there was a couple of thousand in tonight by the sounds of them and shouts of “more, more, more” and as if by magic the boys walk back onstage and launch into the mighty riff of ‘Greetings From Shitsville’ and this crowd goes nuts. Part two of the encore we are treated to the icing on this particular party cake as the band unleash the stunning earth vs b-side ‘Beautifull Thing You’ and indeed it is a glorious racket of loud harmonic beauty. It’s not quite done yet as there is one last song of the night and the fan fav ’29 X The Pain’ and with both band and fans singing their hearts out it is truly a great end to a special night.
All that is left for this reviewer to say is if you can get to a Wildhearts show please do as the band are on top form and are tight and clearly enjoying themselves and you will not be disappointed. Bring on round three and the doubleheader of the Backyard Babies slugging it out with the in-form and on fire Wildhearts Bring it on! 2020 is shaping up nicely if tonight was anything to go by.
Author: Gareth ‘Hotshot’ Hooper
‘Diagnosis’ Review Here
Tour Dates for 2020 Here
‘Renaissance Men’ Review Here
Hey Wildhearts fans, are you feeling lucky right now? With a critically acclaimed album in the bag, half their discography remastered and available on vinyl, and more live action than a Pornhub subscription can give you, The Wildhearts are giving their fans everything they desire and more. Did I mention the excellent solo album Ginger just dropped in the middle of all this action? It’s called ‘Headzapoppin’, you should buy it right now.
Well, if your bank account has recovered, even just a little bit, do you think you can handle splashing out a bit more? Because Ginger and co seem to think you can! How about a six track mini album with 5 brand new songs to back up lead track ‘Diagnosis’, one of the most well received songs from the recent ‘Renaissance Men’ long player. You can even purchase this beast on 10” splatter vinyl if you are that way inclined. Are you salivating yet?
If you are reading this then you have probably heard ‘Diagnosis’ more times than you’ve had hot dinners already, it’s a keeper! The building AC/DC riffage that blasts into a gargantuan diatribe, aimed at a system that has fucked so many over. Totally relatable to those who struggle, from the heart of a writer who is struggling more than most of us can imagine. With the anthemic “You’re not an animal” refrain, it has already become a live favourite and it just had to be a single.
But let’s concentrate on the new songs shall we.
‘God Damn’ sees CJ take lead vocals for a power pop-tastic three and a half minute earworm that wouldn’t sound out of place on one of his own solo albums. Chugging guitars and sneering vocals lead the way. With a signature slow/fast rifforama section, and enough time signature changes than most metal bands manage on a whole album, it’s an epic burst of sleazy noise, something The Wildhearts do so well. Guaranteed to hit the spot, is there a song more aptly titled right now?
With magnificent, urgent drums from Rich Battersby and killer hooks aplenty, ‘A Song About Drinking’ is a 2 minute incendiary burst of noise. Anthemic gang vocalisin’, fist pumping “woah-woahs” and punky melodies aplenty, all the boxes are ticked. What’s not to like here?
‘Could It Be Just Like The First Time’ starts with the chorus refrain. I feel like I’ve heard it before, and you will too, but Ginger always has that knack right? This is the one out of the five that will imbed itself in your subconscious, grab on tight and refuse to leave.
I wonder if bassist Danny McCormack had a hand in ‘That’s My Girl’? It sure has a rumbling Yo-Yo’s feel to it. Distorted power chords rule with a catchy chorus to boot. It’s all leather jackets, greased back hair and attitude.
Uneasy on the ears and not for the fainthearted, closing song ‘LOCAC’ is a wall of distortion and disjointed riffage that would not sound out of place on ‘Endless Nameless’ or even a Mutation album come to think of it. Brutal heaviness that could possibly make your ears bleed at the right sound level.
It’s well known in certain circles that The Wildhearts are the kings of the b sides. How many bands have (or even could) release an album of non-album tracks that can stand tall against their best albums? Oasis have one, anyone else? Well, The Wildhearts could release 3, that is the quality I’m talking about.
And that same quality overflows on this mini album that clocks in at just over 20 minutes. Short, sharp and no fucking about. That seems to be Ginger’s outlook for The Wildhearts in 2019 and who are we to argue? As he has just released the perfect companion to ‘Renaissance Men’ and given his fan base yet another essential release before the year draws to a close.
Buy Diagnosis Here
Author: Ben Hughes
Before we get into this sonic beast of an album I want to point out how lovingly packaged this reissue is.
Round Records is Ginger’s own label and in fairness to us Wildhearts fans we would be happy with a newly remastered White album but in this day of digital downloads, Ginger and his team have gone out of their way to give us something special and boy do they deliver. This double cd book edition features great inside comments from the band on the making of the white album and also has stunning pictures which make this a must-have.
Right onto the music and kicking us off is the nearly 9 minute opener ‘Rooting For The Bad Guy’ which just blasts out of the speakers with a heavy riff, pounding drums and driving bass with ginger’s great gruff vocals shouting out and leading us into a gorgeous harmonic chorus with great backing vocals from Cj and Scott.
Next up is ‘The Sweetest Song’ which is a tale of a woman who has ruined a relationship and starts off with another ginger shouty vocals then goes into a stunning band sang “Na, na, na” chorus.
‘The New Flesh’ was a single off the album and is yet another earworm with some great call to arms lyrics of troubled times which sadly in the years since this album has been released are still as relevant as ever.
“Slaughtered Authors” starts off with the driving bass of Scott Sorry with the drums of Ritch Battersby joining the party before Ginger and Cj complete the line-up. This gem of a track starts off in a slightly more relaxed mode and then builds up to a great band sung chorus. This track is another over the eight-minute mark but with its great instrumental passages when it finishes leaves you still wanting more.
‘Bi-Polar Baby’ is another in a long line of classic Wildhearts tracks with it’s beautifully arranged pop melody wrapped up in bone-crunching guitars.
Ending this album is the other single off the album the pounding ‘Destroy all monsters’ which is a tale of a man spurned by a woman and brings the original White album to a fantastic end.
Now after this emotional rollercoaster of an album has come to an end if like this reviewer you want more (and you will) slip in disc 2.
Right out of the speakers is the awesome track titled ‘Borderline’ which was available as a download off the band’s website many moons ago and is a song worthy of being included on any Wildhearts album with it’s catchy melody which immediately gets in the listeners head and stays.
Other highlights on this bonus disc are ‘Oh Bonita’ and ‘Unbroken’ which were extras on the Japanese version of the white album and the ‘New Flesh’ single which will just show the quality of this bands music that even songs that didn’t originally make the album are songs which are pure class in their own right.
With cd versions and vinyl versions available, this caters to every Wildhearts fans needs and is a must buy.
Author: Gareth ‘Hotshot’ Hooper
Buy The White Album on Vinyl Here