DANGEREENS – ‘Streets Of Doom’ (Golden Robot Records) After recently signing a global record deal with Golden Robot Records, Montreal glitter punk outfit DANGEREENS will release their first single through the label, ‘Streets of Doom’! Out on the 26th of July, the single will be available on all digital platforms.
Dubbed the most elegantly decadent rock n’ roll unit of the 21st century, DANGEREENS’ upcoming single ‘Streets of Doom’ takes you back to the glory days of 70’s glitter rock. One listen and the influences will come pouring out and transport you back into one of the finest ever rock eras!
‘Streets of Doom’ is a contemporary, deadbeat take on a Homeresque tragedy, describing the thoughts and feelings of a hopelessly in love drug dealer. The song is built on a straight 4/4 throbbing rhythm section with syncopated accents, and features take-no-prisoner, oversaturated fuzzed-out guitars, and careless, snarly vocals.
Pat Todd & The Rankoutsiders – ‘ You Might Be Through With The Past, But The Past Ain’t Through With You’ / ‘Ruby Baby’ (Heavy Medication Records) Another out and out rocker from the wonderful Pat Todd and his Rank Outsiders. With a howling good time harmonica from the kick-off, this is just a stomping old-time rocker with some smart solo and a Pat spitting out the words hell yeah! Flip it over and ‘Ruby Baby’ is a twelve-bar boogie it’s like Todd fronting the best of the Georgia Sats and Them Scorchers. What’s not to like?
Dirty Fences – ‘Inside Out’ (Self Release) Rapid like a Gatlin gun firing power-pop bullets all over the shop. ‘Inside Out’ is punchy with a big sloppy chorus. As the New Yorkers get down to business – the Buzzcocks like ‘Broken Saddle So’ lets the listener have it in spades. This band has never released a bad track and this seven-inch is another two gems. Check it out here
Dez Dare – ‘My My Medulla’ (Ch!mp Records) Australian-born, Brighton-based musician (otherwise known as Darren Smallman!) has a new single out today called ‘My My Medulla’, lifted from the new album ‘Hairline Ego Trip’ out now on Ch!mp Records. Dez can turn in a decent tune to be fair as this one deals with the autism that Darren has grown up with.
“Being Autistic I have always struggled to communicate with the people around me, feeling a physical barrier nearly like a wall of distortion in between me and the world,” explains Darren. “This song looks at the struggle to find clarity with the ones you love and the force it takes to include yourself in the world outside your mind.” Knowing the struggle of someone on the spectrum all too well I love seeing and hearing people like Dez achieve what he’s already managed.
Clowns – ‘Sarah’ (Fat Wreck Chords) another day another banger from Australia’s finest – Clowns. The second track to be lifted from their new album (due later this year) this is another earworm that will burrow down and delight you when you least expect it or if you are already familiar with the band then you know what to expect. Awesome stuff.
brand-newsong off their upcoming double A-side 7, ‘Does It Matter?’ Out November 19th and is available for pre-order.
2020 was going to be a colossal year for CLOWNS. The Melbourne, Australian five-piece was locked into worldwide touring to support their 2019 full-length and FAT debut, Nature/Nurture. The album included 11 blistering songs that veered from frantic punk to slower, more nuanced, and psychedelic-tinged rock. However, before the band could really roll out their epic touring plans, that nettlesome global pandemic hit, and the world was shut down.
Luckily, CLOWNS are not one to rest on their laurels and harnessed their solitude to write music. The pause on being an active band allowed the group to record a batch of new songs, with two standing out as their favorites. Out November 11th, you’ll get a healthy dose of quarantine-blues curing melody in the form of their double A-side single Does It Matter?
“Does It Matter?” was the first single to be released in May of 2020 and is about breaking the law, says CLOWNS vocalist Stevie Williams. “We all do it sometimes-and if you say you don’t, then chances are you are a liar or a coward. Musically, we wrote this song during lockdown as the world was melting around us.” The single is a hook-heavy raucous number that demonstrates the prowess of their current lineup. Now completed by drummer and founding member Jake Laderman, vocalist Stevie Williams, bassist/vocalist Hanny J and guitarists Rod Goon and Cam Rust.
The second A-side single, “Sarah,” completes the release with the kind of sound that you’ve come to expect from Clowns: blazing guitars, huge vocals, and infectious melodies. Vocalist Stevie Williams expands, “Sarah explores the idea of how love can be like a drug. Dizzying highs and soul-destroying lows. It can elevate your life to heights you never knew were possible, but can at the same time, be life-crushingly addictive.” The song was recorded at Red Door studio with producer Wood Annison (The Living End) and co-wrote the tune with Matt Squire (One Direction, Panic! At The Disco).
Additionally, in 2019, CLOWNS started a record label/booking agency called Damaged who’ll release Does it Matter?, in Australia, with FAT distributing the release everywhere else. What’s next for CLOWNS? Vocalist Stevie Williams shares, “While we feel happy to be living a relatively normal life after our COVID episode, we are still unable to leave Australia and tour. We’re using this time as wisely as possible, writing all kinds of new music and playing shows where we can. Expect lots of new tunes until it’s legal for us come to you!”
The Idolizers – ‘Riot Radio’ (Rum Bar Records) With a burst of energy this new choon released as part of the labels ‘New Believers in Rock n’ Roll’ Rum Bar campaign. The lead track from their album ‘Concretins’ which promises to be a must-have – full of bangers if this is anything to go by. Just what you want to kickstart the recovery and soak up those rays of summer sunshine. Bright energetic and with a strong hook ‘Riot Radio’ leans on Da Brudas for the energy and the riff but there’s more to it than just tipping the hat to the Ramones. It should be on the radio as you drive to the beach but you’ll have to do with buying it instead.
The Hip Priests – ‘No Stranger To Failure/ Sounds A Lot Like War’ (Ghost Highway Records) The purveyors of the beautiful noise are back and as things promise to revert to some sort of normality the universe is reset. A double A side single sees one side belt out ‘No Stranger’ it’s off like the ghost of Lemmy is amped up to eleven and the Gods of thunder give their instruments a right good seeing to. Of course, I love it and can’t wait to hear it live and shake the foundations of whatever venue will welcome them back. I love Von Cruz vocals on this one. Flip it over for ‘Sounds A Lot Like War’ and the ante has just been raised, what a belter.
Every single released sounds like a battle cry and a reason to give a fuck about Rock and Roll again. My faith in noisy punk rock n roll is reaffirmed and it’s another reason to get excited. Get hold of a copy as soon as it’s released or you might regret it. pressed on coloured vinyl it’s the bands 30th single! and the artwork is by none other than Hard-ons very own Ray Ahn. Facebook
The Manges feat. Giuda – ‘Tootsie Rolls’ (Ltd Col 7″) (Damaged Goods Records) Yeah it’s handclapping one finger piano riffing rock and roll. The Manges play Ramones-style punk rock and they are still doing to be fair but it’s not all they do so having played with Giuda and hung out with them this seems like a no-brainer. A glam stomping Hand clapping smiling rock n roll song. Massimo from the Manges had this to say – “One of our favorite songs for our new album is called ‘Tootsie Rolls’, and it kinda stands aside from the rest of the album, being a more pure rock tune. On this one, our producers could totally work on their favorite arrangements and structure, to the point that we ended up having two versions: one, the album song, and two, a remixed version featuring members of Giuda, called ‘Tootsie Rolls – Part II’. What a treat!” He’s not wrong!
Alvin Gibbs & The Disobedient Servants – ‘State Of Grace’ (T & M Recordings) A new single from Alvin and more evidence of his superb songwriting abilities as three brand-new songs on gold and blood-red splatter vinyl is released. In a picture sleeve exclusively designed once again by Gaye Black (The Adverts), a four-page colour lyric insert but is limited to 500 copies only. Joining Alvin once again is Subs drummer Jamie Oliver and Ruts DCs Leigh Heggarty. The title track leans on Gibbs previous employment with Iggy and I could also see this nestled as one of the best track if it were a Cheap & Nasty song. Cool verses and toe-tapping chorus its a top tune.
‘Too Bad She’s In Love’ has got some real grit going on as we steam towards the chorus. Great chorus and one I want to play over and over a real earworm of a song. I love the way Heggertys guitar wraps itself around Gibbs vocal as it heads to the chorus. Closing off this most excellent single is ‘Brother, Sister’ a jarring jabber of a rhythm offering something different to the other two tunes proving once again that there is some fantastic music being created out there – Buy it! Bandcamp
The Culture Industry – ‘141′ (Riot Records) Punk as fuck! Coming over like if Nirvana were from Australia and drank too much beer instead of facing their sneakers. ‘DK Stance’ is another slice of fire that’s more spat out than gently poured into the speakers. Love that bass punch they have going on it really suits the sound. ‘Middle Aged Kids’ now there a phrase I could level at so many people and there’s nothing wrong with that and once this tune gets going the lyrics might be a bit cliched but the music is excellent and its a good tune. Fuck em all indeed. Swearing might not be big or clever but who cares? I’m sure The Culture Industry don’t give a flying fig but they can certainly knock out a decent slice of punk that’s a given. Facebook
SMASHED GLADYS – ‘Go To Hell’ (Golden Robot Records) Born from the embers of the vibrant Toronto punk scene, SMASHED GLADYS formed in 1984 and then headed to New York City. The band was headed by vocalist Sally Cato and was snapped up by Elektra Records, becoming part of the legendary glam/hair metal scene.
Cato sadly passed away in 2020 and in memory of her, Golden Robot Records bring you new material which they were recording as demos for their 3rd album. This the 2nd single, “Go To Hell” will see the light of day on the 31st of May, giving fans further insight into the unreleased material. Following on from the crunchy guitars of that second album this is more of the same and just a great hard rockin tune and Ms. Cato sure did have a great voice that really suited the music perfectly. Find Smashed Gladys – Facebook /Twitter Pre-order/pre-save “Go To Hell”HERE
Roxy Girls – ‘Roxy Girls Are In The Drink’ (Moshi Moshi Records) Like a throwback to a time when singles from alternative bands and post-punk bands could dent the charts the complicated-sounding rhythms of ‘Like A Bouy’ come across as something between an abrasive Smiths and XTC. A chaotic mix that punctures the air behind a melodic vocal with harmonies galore and then it’s done rather abruptly. This Sunderland band know what they want and how to deliver it. ‘Roxy Girls Are In The Drink’ is out 27th August – Pre-order HERE
Charlie Harper & The Sub Machine – ‘Panic’ (Time & Matter Records) Double A-sided, yellow vinyl release, adorned with a picture sleeve designed by Charlie himself, the single also boasts a double-sided colour lyric insert, each copy is individually hand-numbered and the release is limited to 300 copies only so you’ll have to be quick on this one. ‘Panic’ begins with a piano intro but don’t let that fool you as the snare hits it takes off. Features Marlon Payne on Guitar & Piano, Victoria Smith on Bass & Marley Perez on Drums. The tracks ebb and flow is excellent as the heaviness of the verses pounds it does drop with a marching rhythm and Harpers Reverb laden vocal its engaging and intense and rather bloody good. ‘Post War Punks’ is perhaps more Subs like with its solid riff and Harper’s delivery is on point even if it did make me hungry whilst listening to its sandwich order list. Hurry whilst it’s still available – Here
Randy Savages / Razor Kids – ‘Split EP’ (Different Class Records) Randy Savages serve up a stellar pair of tunes opening with ‘Seagulls’ in all its big, loud, triumphant riffing with a tidy hook on the chorus and a melody that makes this something of a power-pop banger to be fair but hold on, their second offering is the sprightly ‘Delinquents & Dropouts’ as it puts on its collective shit kickers and gives this tune a good old rinsing. Excellent tune from a band I want to hear more from.
Flip it over and Razor Kids do their best to duff up those Savages as they pound out their pogo tastic Ramones like ‘Abusive’. These Portuguese punks make a pretty noise as they chew out the rhythm they soften the riff with some sugary sweet backing vocals that work really well. Their second offering of ‘Perfect HArmony’ much like Randy Savage’s pair is the strongest of their two offerings with its understated lofi number its one-note guitar solo is pure Thunders and I love that. It wraps up a very impressive EP from two quality bands I need to hear more of. Get it! Buy Here
Johny Skull Knuckles – ‘Shang-A-Lang’ (self Release) Free music anyone? Hell yeah! get yourself some of this. Skullknuckles doffs his hat to the sad passing of Les McKeown. Johny has always wanted to do a cover version of this track and now seemed like such a fitting time. Johny said “It has actually turned out a lot more poppy than I had envisaged so at some point I may record a “punkier” version but this will more than do for now. I hope you think I have done the song justice”. Absolutely he’s done it justice. Get it Here
The Riot Vans – ‘Scary Faces’ (Disobedient Records) Post-punk noisemakers the Riot Van release their first single after the ink dries on their deal with Disobedient Records and its a cold angular stabbing slice of post-punk with its jerking and grinding verses but that makes way for the blast on the chorus that’s like a loud blast of heat. I’d imagine this would be a great tune to blast out in a packed club with sprung flooring.
Dez Dare – ‘Dum Dum Dum’ (CH!MP RECORDS) Taken from the album ‘Hairline Ego Trip’ out this coming June Dez does Lofi Punk rock with added scuzz and a dash of alternative indieness Native of Victoria Australia Dez has done his years service playing in Warped and has released this frantic buzz saw riff-a-rama under lockdown to add chaos and noise to every avaialble corner. check out the video below.
It conveys his strong distaste for nationalism. “I want to push against entrenched views, closed borders and minds of large groups of the human race. There are a lot of fights happening at present around the world from climate to right-wing hysteria to unfettered capitalism and we need to work together as an animal of the same kind rather than separated by space, colour and tradition.”
Suzi Moon – ‘Call The Shots’ (Pirates Press Records) Who?, if I were to tell you she’s the ball of energy behind Civet & Turbulent Hearts then it might make sense. Pirates Press aren’t dummies and releasing this EP they know their stuff and anyone who’s seen her live knows what a performer she is. Kicking off with ‘Special Place In Hell’ its a real firestarter of an introduction but as good a song as this is this EP gets better and better.
For a debut solo record, this is setting the bar high with a slice of energy and thunderous tempo its got the lot. Great sound, playing and memorable chorus. I love it but ‘I’m Not A Man’ is like she’s channeling the spirit of Texas Terri Bomb and the attitude of Wendy O Williams whilst having the cool of Joan Jett. Honestly, it’s that good possibly the best track I’ve heard for a while at the singles club I love it. It sounds so easy and like Moon is having the best of time with her Rock and Roll and then to cap it off with the attitude soaked rocker of ‘Nuthin’ To Me’ this is excellent stuff and if this is an indication of what’s to come then bring on an album of this stuff we need to hear it!
The Chelsea Curve – ‘All in Time’ (Red On Red Records) a new single every month from this sensational band, culminating in a full-length album this coming fall! The Chelsea Curve bring their love of the sound and style of the 70’s mod scene and smash it up with the guitar leanings of their respective pasts. Linda Pardee (Orbit), Tim Gillis (Frigate), and Ron Belanger (The Winter Project) came together when Linda said no to being in Ron’s new band and instead asked him to be in her new band along with Tim. Accurately described as the sparks that fly when The Jam meets Husker Du, the trio blasts out bracing retro mod pop with hooks aplenty.
Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes feat Joe Talbot – ‘My Town’ (Self Release) New single from Carter is barbed wire wrapped in a velvet glove plenty of aggression yet melody and a decent hook on the chorus. With the humming synth throughout it’s an intense number that burrows into your ear and will have you craving it over and over – trust me. Also, a great move getting Talbot on guest vocals as he suits the attitude of the lyrics perfectly – A banging song! Facebook download it here
The Cocktail Slippers – ‘She Devil (Shout IT Out Loud)’ (Wicked Cool Records) Norwegian rockers, The Cocktail Slippers, are releasing a brand new single digitally and on limited edition 7″ vinyl. Both tracks are originals and are a taste of what’s to come. The lead track is a commercial slice of subtle Glam Rock – real glam rock with platform boot firmly planted in the 70s they do elsewhere but here this is their most commercial stab so far. with killer harmonies – a real earworm of a tune and one we highly recommend. The flip sounds like the Go Gos jamming on some Blondie and has a pop smooth sound. Not as good as the other side but hey it’s a grower, not a shower. Pick it up Here
Clowns – ‘Does it Matter?’ (Fat Wreck Chords) “ ‘Does It Matter?’ is about breaking the law, says Clowns vocalist Stevie Williams. the hook-heavy raucous number that demonstrates the prowess of their current lineup. Now completed by drummer and founding member Jake Laderman, vocalist Stevie Williams, bassist/vocalist Hanny J and guitarists Rod Goon and Cam Rust. On first blast, it’s not as raucous as previous offerings and might take some getting used to but it’s Clowns and they get a free pass because of previous recordings and live shows. I’m hoping it’s a bit of an earworm and the more I hear it the better it gets. Just bring the album out already and get touring we need bands like Clowns full of menace and with a whole load of piss and vinegar in their performances be it on record or live.
JIZZY PEARL’S LOVE/HATE – ‘Soul Mama’ (Golden Robot Records) Lifted from his album that we won’t get until 2022. Jizzy Pearl’s Love/Hate are up and rocking. His vocals have always been capable of melting steel and he’s lost none of that power. ‘Soul Mama’ is a retro trip back to when the metal Gods such as Zepplin roamed the earth with a laid-back beat its groove-laden with a raw and purposeful guitar lick all making way for Pearls commanding vocal.
Nearly 40 years in, NOFX are still making records and surprising people with the quality of the music. Behind all the goofin’ around and the white noise that goes on off stage and behind the scenes Fat Mike and his band after all said and done are a bloody good band with a shit load of great tunes. what else is there to say about NOFX? I’ll tell you what else there is to say and that is ‘Single Album’ is right up there with their best work and that’s no mean feat considering they’re fourteen albums in and during a pandemic ‘n’ all they should be able to do this in their sleep right? Right!.
There’s the six-minute post-hardcore opener (‘The Big Drag’). To be fair a lot of the so-Cal scene bands tend to stick with the tried and tested and every couple of years regurgitate their last album which did the same for the previous one but lately, NOFX and Fat Mike, in particular, have really pushed the envelope and with the mightily impressive Cokie The Clown and the split they did with Frank turner and throw into the mix that this was originally planned as a double album with the band having tracked twenty-three songs but for one reason or another it became a single album hence the title. The first single (‘Linewleum’) is a tribute to all the bands who covered ‘Linoleum’ badly. They knock out the reggae-inflected song about a mass shooting (‘Fish in a Gun Barrel’). there’s even time for a piano ballad (‘Your Last Resort’).
To be honest, I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with the band and gone through fazes where I’ve loved an album and then not played it for years then loved it again but lately, I’ve really enjoyed the albums and Cokie was fantastic, hell, they even made me listen to some Frank Turner I wouldn’t have gone near. From the heaving opener, this is NOFX at the top of their game.
‘Fish In A Barrel’ is a blinding song and I love the sax solo it reminds me of Jaya The Cat. To be fair NOFX has written some great songs here and there is plenty of variety hell there’s even a piano ballad for fucks sake! did I mention that already? ‘Doors And Fours’ is a big heaving metallic riff behind a bluesy guitar intro and a throbbing bass line. Mike says that he got the idea from a Fatty Arbuckle Autobiography which isn’t as off the wall as it might seem hell, the guy likes to drink and do drugs so why not? Drugs are still a great source of inspiration in the process of songwriting and besides it was a big drug in the 80s’ – Dark shit. A theme that crops up throughout the album as ‘Birmingham’ was delivered whilst under the influence it would seem but if it helps deliver records as good as this one then so be it who am I to object?
Probably the oddest song on the record lyrically is ‘My Bro Cancervive Cancer’ which is a true story Fat Mike describes it as the least important song on the record but it’s a snappy piece of punk rock that NOFX can do in their sleep but boy they do it so well. Pretty much the MO for the whole record and damn I wish it had been a twenty-three-track monster like it was originally intended I want to hear it all because NOFX have hit one hell of a rich vein of form hear ‘The Fake a Wish Foundation’ track. but that can wait for another day because I’m going to live in the now and enjoy the hell out of ‘Single Album’ first because it’s one hell of an album one you should at least give your undivided attention to.
Thee Headshrinkers (Shrink Ray Records) slap on some reverb and hit those cymbals Thee Headshrinkers are here to ‘Save Your Life’ with a groovy lick on the guitar and a song that indeed lies somewhere between Mark E Smith fronting The Cramps and poison ivy joining The Fall and just rocking out without a care in the world. To flip this bad boy over you get more of the same with ‘Head On’ sounding like it was recorded by Ron, Scott, and the Iggster, and even they were too fucked up to remember where they left the tapes. Excellent songs and a great vibe coming out of thee Headshrinkers I particularly like ‘Head On’ they should tour with Thee Hypnotics when COVID fucks off they’d be a lot of fun methinks. get it Here
WARRIOR SOUL – ‘Elected‘ (Livewire/Cargo Records), the track is taken from their covers album called ‘Cocaine and Other Good Stuff‘, out in November ‘Elected’ is the first peek into the album and to be fair to Kory who is no stranger to a cover after tackling some quality songs previously taking on the ‘Coop is a no brainer. Maybe bludgeoning down the smoother edges of the original Warrior Soul have left in those cool horns and knocked out a very decent ‘Elected’ to be fair. Kory turns in a very tidy vocal as well to be fair. If you want to hear it before you pick up your copy of the album stream it here
Zodiac Panthers – ‘Black Leather Heart’ (Bandcamp) Cheeky artwork to accompany a gloriously bubblegum Poppin slab of loud, fun punk rock n roll. Zodiac Panther sounds like Turbonegro when they were kings of everything sleazy and garage punk rock. But there’s a healthy dose of Ramones going on as well but these cats have got it going on and if there is an album heading our way that pulls together this along with the Hexray Vision stuff then they are onto a winner and its something we would need to hear otherwise what’s the point this stuff could very well be the magic potion that fights off this pandemic. Rock and Roll baby and we fuckin’ like it!
Teen Creeps – ‘Seeing Shapes’ (Pias) Harking back to a sound that filled every student uni certainly in America with the likes of Dinosaur Jr or Buffalo Tom with a healthy dose of mid-period Lemonheads thrown in for good measure. Teen Creeps have absorbed the lot and gone down the Teenage Fanclub route of writing a decent song with what they have and ‘Seeing Shapes’ is what spilt out in the studio. this is the first single from the album ‘Forever’ that’s set for an early 2021 release and if this is the benchmark then I’ll be having some of that along with many others. top tune. Facebook
Mad Caddies – ‘House on Fire’ (FAT WRECK CHORDS) 25 years and still standing this Californian band had some big plans for this year (Pre Pandemic) it’s not all bad though because the band were able to work on this EP (their first new music in six years) and finally they finished recording and got the damn thing released. Opening track is a gentle commercial number. The band refers to it as punk rock turned ska and that’s about the size of it. With one eye on the commercial success, they’ve hit a winning formula and the band’s horn section run riot here ‘Waiting For the Real Thing’ is pure pop. I think they’ll be adding a whole heap more to their half a million sales with this. In these dark times, it’s a little ray of sunshine for sure.
J. Graves – ‘Deathbed’ (Illumin Records) Call me lazy call me what you like but J Graves reminded me of PJ Harvey. Certainly on first play but there’s more to this than sounding like someone else because ‘Deathbed’ is a gutsy introduction from the repetitive guitar lick to the guttural howls on the chorus to the trashy drum beat its got something and I like it.
Portlands Jessa Graves has the talent and the post-punk rattle of ‘Time Travel’ has a real vibrant DIY feel to it and the X-Factor of it being a bloody good song. ‘Lo The Morning’ is the third offering and proving that the first two are no flunk. wrapping up the EP is ‘331’. interesting, experimental and above all good. pick it up here at Bandcamp
GILBY CLARKE ‘Tightwad’ (Golden Robot Records) ‘Tightwad‘ is the latest single from Gilby Clarke, and the follow up to his recent singles The Gospel Truth and Rock n’ Roll Is Getting Louder. It was written around a guitar riff he wrote while trying out a new fuzz pedal. Lyrically, it was inspired by deceit, treachery and the creative extremes people will go through to get ahead. Tightwad features Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx on bass and Stephen Perkins (Janes Addiction) on Drums. Facebook
KING BULL – ‘What Happened Here?’ (Riot Records) Boundless energy and guitars that are louder than everything else x 10. Nowt wrong with that for us. Canada’s King Bull has got a pocket full of catchy hard rockin’ tunes born in the ’70s and fueled by a fuzz box guitar and a bad attitude. ‘Secret Sauce’ reminds me of another tune but I can’t quite put my finger on it. This EP gets better the more you play it and the songs get better as the EP wears on ‘Dontcha Know’ is wonderfully flamboyant from the guitar lick to the vocals its a ripper. I’m only disappointed there isn’t a full-blown ballad on here but these five will keep me going as they save the best ’til last with ‘B Side Baby’ being the pick of the bunch and makes you want to punch the air in some arena wearing the silk scarf you picked up off their merch table. Thoroughly enjoyed check em out! FacebookPre-order/save What Happened Here?HERE
the project brings together for the first time ever the long-running Los Angeles punks and the London-based singer and ex-Million Dead frontman, for many years now both friends and fans of each other’s music. With supporting live shows also shortly to be announced, the 10 strong track-listing of ‘West Coast vs Wessex’ captures NOFX tackling five selections from Turner’s sizeable solo back catalogue, with Frank reciprocating with recordings of five of his personal favourites picked from NOFX’s 37-years-and-counting career.
Both artists have sizable followings it would be hard to predict who’d still be standing if they were to slug it out. To be fair maybe Fat Mike wouldn’t get past the drug test but he’d probably hide a horseshoe in his glove anyway but the walk-in music is sorted as they could both play one of these tracks. Now to be fair I have to say I’ve seen Frank live a few times and although I enjoyed what I heard and I also have some of his records I’ve never been drawn in and become a fully-fledged fanboy but I do love ‘Thatcher Fucked The Kids’ and although NOFX do a sterling job its way below the original even if they’ve taken it somewhere dark and pulled its pants down and spanked it with a ska trombone and I’m good with that. And The same has to be said of NOFX I’ve seen them a few times and own the records but no fanboy and would it rude to say the best or rather my favourite release was the split they did with Rancid! (Flame me now NOFX fanboys) Not ‘Punked in Drublic’ and I do like Fat Mikes alter ego Cokie The Clown a lot. Anyway, I digress.
First half lets introduce tracks one to five and in the USA corner its NOFX and five Frank Turner tracks that manage to have their melons twisted (quite considerably at times) yet they still maintain the vital “Frank” ingredient which isn’t easy and they treat the songs rather well before devouring them NOFX style. ‘Substitute’ is skanked and the harmonies are great and when it breaks out it sounds fantastic. Angry love songs always work.
‘Worse Things Happen At Sea’ is no longer the picked melancholy its a slobbering beast that builds really well and Fat Mike and co have really worked on these and I’m impressed, no I’m really impressed. MAn these guys should do a collaboration and be done with it they are in tune – seriously. ‘Thatcher’ gets the ska skank treatment and to be fair it really works I’d never have called it as the keys dance and that horn bows almost as much as Thatcher did. Let’s not forget either kids, these lyrics are so spot on and what’s more depressing when it was written Frank never could have predicted Cameron and his austerity and then May before Boris well and truly fucked everyone not just the kids. Respect.
‘The Ballad Of Me & My Friends’ isn’t a folky sing-along its a blast through NOFX style. They get Turner in for a rip through ‘Glory Hallelujah’ like they’re Queen writing a musical for the west end big bold and quite beautiful. You have to take your hat off to Fat Mike hes reconstructed five of turners songs and given them a NOFX makeover and most enjoyable they are too.
In The ‘Wessex’ Corner is the very English Frank Turner and his band the Sleeping Souls and to be fair they’ve also entered into the spirit of things and taken five NOFX tunes and given them a “this side of the pond” English make over.
It is indeed the ying to Fat Mikes yang as ‘Scavenger Type’ get the punked-up acoustic style treatment as the ‘Punked In Drublic’ gets a good shoeing. I guess ‘Bob’ was a free hit for Turner but he takes ownership and if I was to pick a knockout blow on this release then this might well be it. Sublime, to be fair a great song handled with much love and respect.
‘Eat The Meek’ is taken somewhere totally different and reinvented and to be fair I didn’t see that coming either. That’s the pattern though and like ‘Perfect Government’ is another uppercut from Turner who winning this on points. Finally bowing out with his rendition of ‘Falling In Love’ this caps off a pretty impressive split. Exactly how it should be done and much respect to Frank Turner and NOFX who manage to knock each other out at the same time Rocky style. Give it a try then go check out the originals and then give them both a round of applause for their bravery, talent and execution.
Let’s hope for a rematch somewhere down the line or how about a full-on collaboration ‘West Coast vs Wessex’ has been an emotional box office success. Get on this pay per view kids its a big hitter for sure.
Here’s a couple of proper rainy days songs taken from a new split we’re reviewing this week on RPM its Frank turner & NOFX.
NOFX and Frank Turner will release a split covers album, ‘West Coast Vs. Wessex’ on July 31, 2020. Due for release via Fat Mike’s own Fat Wreck Chords label, the project brings together for the first time ever the long-running Los Angeles punks and the London-based singer and ex-Million Dead frontman, for many years now both friends and fans of each other’s music. With supporting live shows also shortly to be announced, the 10 strong track-listing of ‘West Coast vs Wessex’ captures NOFX tackling five selections from Turner’s sizeable solo back catalogue, with Frank reciprocating with recordings of five of his personal favourites picked from NOFX’s 37-years-and-counting career.
Just how often does the leader of one of your favourite bands ask you to do a split album? One where his band covers your songs? It’s the situation Frank Turner found himself in last year, when Fat Mike of NOFX asked if he wanted to do a split covers album. “And I shit the bed and said, ‘Fucking of course I do! That sounds incredible,” Turner recalls.
‘West Coast Vs. Wessex’ does sound incredible: NOFX filtering five of Turner’s songs through their singular sensibility, with Turner doing the same on five NOFX songs. But these aren’t simply double-time versions of Turner’s folk-punk tunes or slow, acoustic re-workings of NOFX’s iconic SoCal punk anthems. Both NOFX and Turner took time to play with the possibilities each other’s music presented.
“I listened to all his records, and I picked the ones that I thought I could make more interesting,” notes Fat Mike. “What I did is change a lot of chords. Frank, he beats me in the singing department. So I can’t sing better than he can, but I can maybe throw in a melody here or there or chord that he hadn’t thought of.”
Turner took a similar approach. “I didn’t want to just do straight covers of anything. I wanted to try and pick songs where I felt like me and my band could bring something different to the table,” he says. “But it did strike me that it would be cool to demonstrate to the casual NOFX fan, who doesn’t know who I am, that I am actually a fan. I didn’t just go to Spotify and pick the five most-listened-to songs.” For the record, only one of his choices appears on Spotify’s top five for NOFX: ‘Bob’, which Turner here transforms into a wistful country song. He pulled from deeper album tracks for his other covers: a punk-ed up ‘Scavenger Type’, a barroom singalong ‘Perfect Government’, the post-hardcore ‘Eat the Meek’, and a spare, haunting ‘Falling in Love’.
“Everything he picked was from the ’90s, so I took that as it’s okay to mostly do his early stuff too,” says Fat Mike, who channeled ‘90s NOFX for their interpretations. “People who hear it, they all say it sounds like old NOFX.” The band’s climactic take on ‘Substitute’ could’ve fit on ‘Punk in Drublic’, whilst ‘Worse Things Happen at Sea’ simmers with an ominous portent. The jaunty ‘Thatcher Fucked the Kids’ sounds like a companion to NOFX’s ‘Philthy Phil Philanthropist’. ‘The Ballad of Me and My Friends’ – lilting and bittersweet in Turner’s original – goes balls-out here. “Glory Hallelujah” sounds like a lost track from Fat Mike’s Broadway musical, ‘Home Street Home’.
Turner and his band, The Sleeping Souls, recorded their songs between their rehearsal space and during tour commitments, with Frank tracking his vocals from his bunk on the bus. NOFX recorded at Fat Mike’s Six Floggs studio, with production by the D-Composers (Fat Mike, Johnny Carey, BAZ Bastien, Yotam Ben Horin).
“It’s difficult to describe quite how it feels to hear back a song that you wrote played by NOFX, one of your favourite bands, in a style that is unmistakably theirs,” Turner says. “It tends to make me just laugh in a really elated kind of way. It’s just like, ‘Holy shit, this is ‘Substitute’ done by NOFX! This is fucking insane!’” Fat Mike was similarly psyched. “When Frank picked ‘Falling in Love,’ I was so fucking stoked,” Mike says. “Then I heard it, and I go, ‘Holy shit, he just kicked our ass.’ I was pleased with all of them. I thought he did a really good job – and not such a good job that we couldn’t beat him on a few songs.”
But there are no losers on West Coast Vs. Wessex. The Frank Turner-Fat Mike Mutual Admiration Society has produced 10 hooky re-imaginings of each others’ music. The novelty may pique listeners’ curiosity, but the songs will keep them coming back.
“I have always thought and always maintained, well before we were friends, that Mike is a great, classic songwriter,” Turner says. “And that’s what sets NOFX apart from many of their peers.”
What about him?
“Just for me to be able to stand up in front of the mirror and look at myself and say, ‘You’re doing a fucking split with NOFX’—that is an absolute dream come true for me,” he says, laughing. “I mean, I don’t quite know where my career goes from here.”
Punk in Drublic Festival 2021 European Tour Dates Feat. NOFX and Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls
13 May FRANCE Chemillé, Théâtre Foirail à Chemille
15 May BELGIUM Boom, De Schorre Open Air
16 May GERMANY Berlin, Zitadelle
21 May AUSTRIA Wiesen, Wiesen Open Air
23 May ITALY Milan, Carroponte
4 June GERMANY Oberhausen, Turbinenhalle
5 June GERMANY Hannover, Faust Open Air
10 June FINLAND Turku, Vanha Surrtori 5
12 June NORWAY Oslo, Oslo Spektrum
13 June SWEDEN Malmö, Folkets Park
Man, I always have a soft spot for Californian pop/punk, especially when it’s a young band coming on like the 90’s never ended. And that’s where I introduce you to The Bombpops. Founded in 2007 by dual singer/guitarists Jen Razavi and Poli Van Dam, the 4 piece band take the title of their sophomore album ‘Death In Venice Beach’ from Thomas Mann’s celebrated novella about the price of artistic life.
The follow up to 2017’s ‘Fear Of Missing Out’ it sees the band explore dark themes of alcohol addiction, health problems, toxic relationships and suicide all wrapped up in high energy punk pop.
But the dark lyrical themes are certainly not the first thing that hits you about The Bombpops. The SoCal sound that inspires the band is prevalent throughout, you could say ‘Death In Venice Beach’ sounds like the lost 90’s soundtrack you need to fill the hole between ‘10 Things I Hate About You’ and ‘Josie and the Pussycats’.
Take latest single ‘Double Arrows Down’. Lyrically inspired by Poli Van Dam’s diabetes seizure and subsequent dice with death, it’s actually a euphoric blast of dual vocal melody and overdriven guitars, with a sugar-buzz pop melody that will inject sunshine into anyone’s dreary day. Sweet vocal melodies The Dollyrots would die for and the sort of catchy choruses Letters To Cleo perfected in their prime.
And so it continues for 30 minutes or so. 12 short, sharp, shocks of punk pop that do not overstay their welcome. Songs that would’ve bombarded the airwaves back in the day and singles that would’ve been vying for attention with the likes of Bowling For Soup and Sum 41 on your TV screens.
‘Dearly Departed’ name-checks doomed celebrity couples over high energy pop/punk. Sid & Nancy rub shoulders with JFK & Monroe as Jen & Poli deliver pitch perfect vocal harmonies and dirty guitars in unison. A tight rhythm section and a crisp production courtesy of (among others) NOFX’s Fat Mike only adds to the high quality.
With the likes of ‘Sad To Me’ and ‘Zero Remorse’ they have a knack of delivering a verse that create momentum and builds to what you just know is going to be an anthemic, killer chorus that will stay in your brain long after the song has ended. The girls’ vocals work well together and it is that, along with the top notch songwriting, which lifts this album high above the current competition.
The bouncy bass intro and the offset guitar riff in ‘Notre Dame’ will bring to mind The Offspring, ‘In The Doghouse’ comes on like The Creepshow at their most commercial and the raw tale of isolation and heartbreak that is ’13 Stories Down’ sounds like a female-fronted NOFX. Elsewhere you’ll swear you’ve heard the likes of ‘Radio Silence’ and ‘House On Fire’ before. And that my friends, is the knack of a catchy melody put to very good use.
There are lots of comparisons that can be made to lots of cool bands when listening to ‘Death In Venice Beach’ and that’s not a bad thing. The Bombpops wear their influences proudly on their sleeves and have their own imitable style and their own way of exorcising their own personal demons with a set of strong, bouncy tunes.
To be honest, you could imagine any of the 12 songs on offer to be featured on MTV, with the band playing next to a swimming pool or a frat house in California, surrounded by teens with nothing more on their mind than pulling the hottest cheerleader and downing a four pack. And while in these troubled times those sort of antics may seem as distant a memory as the 90’s actually are, it’s still the great escape some of us need right now.
What with lockdown entering its gazillionth week we scour the net for new tunes to brighten your day but I think we’ve reached the point where a little darkness might be the order of the day rather than sunshine and roses. so here’s NOFX to lighten the mood. Welcome to the darkness kids
Enough darkness how about some boot boy Rock and Roll courtesy of the new one from Faz Waltz? OK, Here goes your wish is my command and up this week on RPM we review the brand new album from Faz Waltz.
Finally, we love Johny Skullknuckles round ere so when we see he has a video to accompany the song he wrote and recorded on less than 24 hours it would be rude of us not to show it. So here goes. ‘This City’