‘Preaching the Blues’ is a limited deluxe 7 x 7′ singles box set featuring the phenomenal original run of singles with two bonus singles exclusive to this set. All housed inside a lift-off lid box with a booklet featuring an essay by Clinton Heylin, reminisces from Thurston Moore, Henry Rollins, Mark Lanegan, X and Dan Stuart, rare photographs and flyers, new exclusive issue of the ‘Fire of Love’ fanzine, Ruby Records postcard and a ‘Gun’ button badge.
It’s a no brainer for fans of JLP or The Gun Club, seven 7″ singles for a start with reproductions of their artwork and the liner notes and added narrative from some of the most knowledgable people who were there at the time is a wonderful artifact to now be able to own.
To source, worn copies of these singles would cost a small fortune so owning brand new mint copies is a no-brainer for a fraction of the cost. But as far as well-researched sleeve notes go this is exceptional and the input from people like Dan Stuart and Thurston Moore is a bonus. Some of the pictures are so cool as well having never before been released. I often think to myself what kind of output artists who’ve passed on would be delivered in 2022 in both quality and frequency. When I started reading and spinning this set that was the first thing that leaped to my mind. Just what would Jeffrey Lee Pierce sound like now what kind of music would the guy be making? I’d like to think he would deliver songs of the quality of ‘Sex Beat and ‘The Lie’ or hell, even a ‘Crabdance’. I love the pictures housed in the accompanying literature many of which are being released for the first time here. JLP was one cool dude no doubt about it, it’s such a shame he flew too close to the sun for it is our loss musically that such a talent was taken too soon, way too soon. He had so much to give and all we’re left with is a few albums and some great live recordings so it is nice to see items like this set getting released with something different that we’ve not seen before even if the music is all out there already.
The first single is raw but houses boundless energy, that sound and delivery of JLP was picked up on by the likes of an out-of-control Green On Red and can be heard throughout their music. ‘Ghost On The Highway’ is exciting and still to this day gives me a rush when it all kicks off from the sloppy slide to the hanging on by a thread drumming but it’s all so well held together by the ringmaster supreme that was Lee Pierce. compared to the final single ‘Cry To Me’ which is a much smoother production for sure as is the b side of ‘Give Up The Sun’. C’mon there are no duff tracks here the music is pretty much faultless much like this overall package the postcards and pin are a nice touch but the music is timeless.
Sixteen slices of classic Gun Club spread over seven singles is a beautiful thing to own at the start of 2022. God bless Jeffrey Lee Pierce and all who sailed the choppy waters of the Gun Club. Your music was magical and still is and lovingly preserved in packages like this. Buy it!
Mutant voodoo blues noise is a great description of your music and a pretty good one at that – sure it’s obvious that the Gun Clubs Jeffrey Lee Pierce looms like a shadow over Saint but there’s more to this artist than that.
It’s been over two years since the debut album on Heavy Medication, and now Warsaw’s Jack Saint is back
Its dark, Tom Waites meets Jim Jones dark as is obvious on “Reap What You Sow” from the outset. The swampy ‘Worry Blues’ is edgy and experimental as the devil in Saint bellows from the vocals with the needle in the red, their Gun-Club-meets-Beasts-of-Bourbon vibe is darker and heavier than before, as the band mixes it up with new sounds and new textures. but even before that, the record opens with the smooth Jazzy ‘Hair of my True Love is Ice-Blond’ something even Nick Cave has dabbled with. Sprawling over five minutes long is a brave opener and you realise straight away that you have to go on this journey with Jack Saint or it’s not worth bothering.
It’s raw and in your face. the more Cramps like ‘Moving On (Freight Train)’ is a bit of a stomper and the more experimental ‘Music Against Nature’ is a messed up hybrid of styles that does and doesn’t work so much as it staggers like a late night with Olly Reid. One of the best tracks is the bruising ‘Severence Till You’ again stuttering and staggering with its heavy guitar sounding like an artillery volley before falling back into the groove.
The album closes with the Fuzztones like keys and guitar funk attack and a head explosion of an album is done. I did enjoy it and will dip in and out over time I’m sure of it. Late-night absynth induced experiences might help make sense of this record more than just playing it on some streaming site it was made to be indulged after dark and I like that and so should you.
This is the debut mini-album of No wave blues if there’s such a thing. Born out of barroom frequented by midnight dwellers from Stiv Cantarelli and the Silent Strangers its dark smokey and in league with some black magic that’s for sure. With one hand on the Gun Club back catalogue and the other on the steel strung guitar and overdriven amp that has been used previously by the likes of Gallon Drunk and Birthday Party for sure and you could throw in a healthy (or should that be unhealthy does of The Cramps) for good measure.
‘Barrellhouse Queen’ is like a morning after come down when your head is banging like a big bass drum and everything sounds so distant. The tension created is mesmeric and whilst at times feels claustrophobic it also feels like its the audio equivalent of the great wide open and all panoramic all within one song. that just doesn’t so much grow but envelops the listener and the louder you can get away with playing it the better.
Reverb-heavy feedback-laden its got warmth and atmosphere for sure and that Alan Vega drum echo is chilling on ‘Headspinner Blues’ and as the slide hits the guitar and the strings vibrate it sends a chill right up my spine. I’m taken back to when I first heard Jesus and Mary Chain and their debut single hit my stereo its the same gut-wrenching primal scream (no pun intended) its got a heartbeat that says 50’s rock n roll but its also raging against contemporary music and all its studio trickery as this sounds like its one take one mic one idea – done ‘Mr. Williamson’ fades like smoke rising from a burning pyre.
‘Broken Bones Blues’ is like suicide meets the delta blues and my head is banging along to that distorted beat. to cap it all off if you need any encouragement the final offering is a mesmeric beat beating away entitled ‘Down At The Public House’. Get this on the road along with Paul-Ronney and his Urban Voodoo Machine who would be the ideal drinking partner for this slice of dark underworld Rock and Roll. Waste no time in sourcing this out if you’ve ever had a hankering for any of the bands referenced in this review because your going to love this no doubt about it.
Not Just your regular summer, no sir, this one is hot! and its only getting hotter!
Whilst May was relatively quiet (slang) June was positively bristling with releases and live shows for the RPM crew and the beginning of the festival season was open. But we couldn’t mention June 2018 without a few tributes to fallen comrades in Rock and Roll.
Firstly, Heavy Drapes frontman Garry Alexander Borland passed away the first week after returning from Holland after a really successful show at Rebellion over there. Garry’s passing was a huge shock to people close to him obviously but his passing was also felt in the wider alternative community with his band on the verge of much bigger and better things what with the up and coming decent billing at Rebellion UK and their debut album ready to go so its only right we record this moment and pay tribute to Garry. May he rest in peace.
Another sad passing was that of DJ Fontana who was Elvis Presley’s drummer for many a year, Dominic Joseph Fontana was responsible for laying down the backbeat on almost 500 songs with the king which is no mean feat and a really impressive CV by any standard also it’s only right we recognise his contribution to music. Rest in Peace DJ.
Sadly a third influential musician passed away in June this year, none other than Nick Knox the second but longest-serving Cramps drummer. Nick joined the band from the Electric Eels and occupied the drum stool from 1977-1991, Knox toured with the band and appeared on some of the Cramps’ best recordings, ‘Songs The Lord Taught Us‘, ‘Psychedelic Jungle’ and ‘A Date With Elvis’. Rest In Peace Nick Knox the man behind Lux and the man behind the shades.
Sadly the fourth person to pass away in June was none other than West coast punk rock legend Steve Soto of The Adolescents. Steve was originally the bass player in Agent Orange back in ’79 he then served as bass player in the Adolescents until passing. the most recent album ‘Cropduster‘ being his final piece of work and easily one of 2018 finest albums. The band went on to tour the summer around Europe with stand-in player and dedicated the set each night to Steve where they had a backdrop replacing the band’s logo and replacing it with SOTO at Rebellion in August Tony Reflex dedicated the show to his bandmate in a touching speech and subsequent performance that was electric and memorable, Rest In Peace Steve 54 is way too young.
Right hopefully onto much happier matters for the month of June 2018. With Festival season in full swing Fraser headed to Download and watched The Bronx, The Hives and Turbonegro show the festivals other acts how Rock and Roll was meant to be delivered to the people. elsewhere it seemed like the world and his Mrs were off to see the Rolling Stones play some enormadome or should that be a field?
IT might have cost the GDP of some countries to get close enough to see the band measure up to the size of a subbutteo player but it has to be said nobody was disappointed in either the performance or the setlist the band was knocking out on this leg of the tour. Jagger was ever his peter pan like self careering from one side of the huge stage to the other like he was a child with more energy than most performers more than half his age and some.
Nev decided he’d bowl darn London way and take in what Camden Rocks had to offer. Basically, all the pubs of any note and the dive bars, as well as the more famous landmarks such as Dingwalls, Electric Ballroom etc throw, open their doors to live Rock and Roll for the day and if you have a wristband and there’s room at the inn then uh, you’re in! Just wear some comfortable shoes and a stage planner. You might just happen across your favourite new band or someone you’ve been meaning to catch and hey presto there they are. (Deep Breath time) This year Nev caught The Ramonas at the Dublin Castle – Dirty Thrills at The Underworld Talia Dean in Brew Dog then back to the underworld for Sonic Boom Six and some knees up skanking ska which went down rather well with Nev. It wouldn’t have been right had our roving scribe not caught Urban Voodoo Machine down at the lock where the place to be was indeed Dingwalls then to finish off a marathon of live entertainment it was Camden Assembly for some Ryan Hamilton & The Traitors before the Rifles was a curtain call for Mr Brooks but he wasn’t banking on bumping into Paul-Ronny Angel either so his night wasn’t quite over!
Ben went to Rambling Man Fair and enjoyed the performances of such heavyweight rockers as The Cult and also managed to catch RPM favourites Jim Jones and The Righteous Mind as well as the real mock rockers Steel Panth..Nah I can’t type it sorry folks I’d be doing RPM a disservice even mentioning them. anyway, Ben also managed to take in the large club gig of the month that was the triple-headed Britrock Must Be Destroyed touring carnival that featured a rotating line up of Reef, The Wildhearts, and Terrorvision. there were multiple dates to be fair and it was decided on the day how the running order would play out. I reckon each band made new fans on the night as reports were coming in of all three raising each others game and an excellent way to tour. The night Ben had in Leeds also saw Dodgy added to the lineup.
Our intrepid European correspondent or one of them Craggy got to see Repetitor live at Kabinet Muz, Brno I said Craggy got to see Repetitor in Brno…oh forget it he enjoyed it anyway said it was one of his highlights of the year to be fair.
Now with a sharp intake of breath June was positively overflowing with album releases that would bother top tens come the end of the year. Just a few of those contenders has to be The Interrupters with their ‘Fight The Good Fight’ that saw them leap up the rankings with a fantastic collection of tunes that was shaking up not just fans of the bands previous two albums but new music fans who heard one of the many potential hits on the radio or tv with the album set to just keep on selling and selling we are looking at the next big thing as they won’t be playing clubs for much longer.
Getting Tim Armstrong in to produce the record is a great move as the guy oozes class and knows his way around a ska-punk record and if he had a hand in any of the songwriting or arranging then boy pat yourselves on the back because the infectious ‘A Friend Like Me’, ‘Shes Kerosene’ and the awesome ‘Got Each Other’ are three reasons why this record will deservedly be in many ends of year top 3’s and rightly so..
Elsewhere June saw the release of London Towns Portuguese legends The Parkinson’s return with the LP ‘The Shape Of Nothing To Come’ that confirmed that these gentlemen still had it and it was a fine return to the fold in every way. Now expanded to a five piece you can take the boys out of punk rock but you can’t ever take the punk rock out of the boys and that boys and girls is a fact. the Parkinsons still have the chops.
Another couple of worthy mentions in the albums released in June has to be Smash Fashion and their ‘Rompus Pompous’. Which has gone down a right storm at RPM as they’ve really hit their stride on this one and joioning them would have to be Nottingham’s The Speedways with the fantastic slice of power pop that is ‘Just Another Regular Summer’ the brains behind the idea to write an album was Matt former guitarist of The Breakdowns he’s since formed a band after the success of the record and has played a number of shows and next year they’ve already planned some shows in Spain and London. It really is power pop perfection and a record we highly recommend.
The old school shouldn’t be forgotten either because June was also the month when the phrase you can’t teach an old dog new tricks was debunked because The Uk Subs once again released a new album ‘Subversions’ of some of their favourite songs by other people – sure a cover album. there might well be some you could see coming but there are others on the album that you would never have seen coming.
Over in NYC the birthplace of hardcore and home to some of the best bands around Madball made a new record they put out in June 2018 and the brutal ‘For The Cause’ was unleashed on the world and immediately felt at home with the RPM crew.
Finally a mention of records released in June this time for the magnificent London power poppin’ punk rockin’ Los Pepe who released their long playing Greatest Hits on Snap Records! it came with a CD of the album and they also got to knock out a single this month as well which was nice. Don’t get me started on singles that appeared this month because ther were plenty with my pick of the pack coming from the Randy Savages who were ‘Guilty Of Nuthin’ .