Portuguese-Canadian-Swedish alternative collective Lusitanian Ghosts release their second album full to bursting with ancient sounds for the 21st Century and beyond. Imagine the most beautiful panoramic watercolour of big sky and deep waters ebbing and flowing well this would be the most exquisite soundtrack to such a painting.

Founded in 2015, Lusitanian Ghosts are Neil Leyton, Mikael Lundin (a.k.a. Micke Ghost), João Sousa, Omiri, O Gajo, Abel Beja, Janne Olson and other artists that come and go within the collective. It all began when Neil Leyton brought Micke Ghost a Viola Amarantina in Stockholm when visiting from Lisbon.

An album about life, love, loss and freedom of choice. Single ‘Never Less Than Lonely’ is about the loss of memory… from whichever perspective. Alzheimer’s, or cancer. Losing people slowly, watching them fade away. This the band’s second album ‘Exotic Quixotic’, is released on European Phonographic and is every bit as adventurous as the debut perhaps even more daring and joyful, dark and reflective.

The album was recorded on analogue tape and mixed by Sebastian Muxfeldt (Elbow, Peter Doherty, Teenage Fanclub) at Hamburg’s Clouds Hills Studios, recasts heritage folk violas into rock and roll songs

Lusitanian Ghosts strive for building a better world, Writing and performing songs from and for the heart and the mind. Their compositions mix indie songwriting with traditional Portuguese instruments like the Beiroa, Campaniça, Braguesa, Terceirense and Amarantina guitars (or violas as they are called in Portugal), each with its own string arrangements and tunings.

The bands sound coming from something of a unique place has Neil Leyton steeped in traditional indie Rock and Roll and his love of bands like the Manics and The Dogs D’Amour even, reinventing the style in an almost folk style yet remaining fresh and original is exciting and engaging.

The documentary ‘Lusitanian Ghosts: Making Of the Lusitanian Ghosts debut album – Chordophone Rock n Roll’ elucidates on why most of these Portuguese ancient instruments (the real Lusitanian Ghosts) have become forgotten over time. For this album, they’ve done away with the guitars, using only chordophones, along with bass and drums. Even the snare was replaced on many tracks with the Adufe, a Portuguese square drum.

“This is all Chordophone violas from Portugal – namely the viola Amarantina, Braguesa, Campaniça and Terceira, played by the Lusitanian Ghosts collective including Canadian-Portuguese artist Neil Leyton, Micke Ghost (the first Swede to play the viola Amarantina!), Vasco Ribeiro Casais aka OMIRI (Portugal), Abel Beja (USA/Portugal, viola Terceira from the Azores), João Sousa on drums (sometimes replacing the snare with the Portuguese square drum Adufe) and Jan-Eric Olson on bass. But not just bass! Janne borrowed O Gajo’s viola Campaniça for some extra dark licks. Chordophone rock n roll, Alt-Folk, Urban-Country-Folk, however it gets labelled what should come across are the humanist messages in these songs,” says Micke Ghost.

Featuring ten tracks from the upbeat opener of ‘Soul Deranium’ its brushes on the snare and some fantastic arrangements and a cacophony of string instruments attacking your senses and reeling you in its intended as a “protest song for the ages” whilst its four minutes of Rock and Roll performed differently it reaching the same end result, daring and adventurous and capturing the spirit perfectly its all there.

‘All The Sounds’ is Leyton at his emotional best as the song builds through the chorus before going back to the start. Then the title track has the soul of the early 70s Bowie or Ronnie Lane penned Faces song but also sounding very modern and original. It’s stirring stuff indeed.

Call it alt-folk or anti-folk – whatever, it’s just Rock and Roll isn’t it? just a different flavour with different instruments. I do know it’s engaging and quite beautiful. A very emotional record that oozes quality and passion both lyrically and musically. One of my favourite songs is the rush that is ‘Living One Life (Just Isn’t Enough These Days)’ it lasts a stunning six-plus minutes with the first half just building on the riff before a word is uttered.

‘Lisbon Calling’ is a European twist of ‘London Calling’ something of a first cousin, maybe played differently but with the same beating heart.

‘For The Wicked’ is dreamy as the snare shuffles Leyton’s hushed tones sound menacing as he rallies against religious or political extremism, populism, or any other kind of anti-humanist behaviour its engaging and as the general vibe of this record its a beautiful thing and thoroughly engaging even if you have no idea what the songs might be about the overall feeling is exceptional beauty and Leyton and Ghost should be so proud of what they have created with this record. I urge you to investigate this album further and I promise you will reap the rewards of what is a stunning collection of songs. An absolute triumph of songwriting and a texture of musicianship that has light and darkness that has to be appreciated for its boldness and a record that is an absolute pleasure to play regardless of one’s emotional state. Take a bow Lusitanian Ghosts for delivering such a stunning record.

‘Exotic Quixotic’ album will be released on November 19 and can be pre-ordered via Bandcamp.

Author: Dom Daley

Lusitanian Ghosts live in Setabul https://youtu.be/7nGWKAGC3sc
“Never Less Than Lonely’ https://lusitanianghosts.bandcamp.com/track/never-less-than-lonely
‘Never Less Than Lonely’ pre-order https://lnk.to/neverless 
Album pre-order https://lnk.to/exoticquixotic 
Bandcamp https://lusitanianghosts.bandcamp.com/album/exotic-quixotic
‘Soul Deranium’ https://open.spotify.com/album/40JtZUOMwSaqeKcWpcKuxK 
‘All The Sounds’ https://youtu.be/wJZrl9wyvgs 
‘Exotic Quixotic’ https://youtu.be/FSGJHlHkTBE  
‘Making Of Lusitanian Ghosts debut album’ https://youtu.be/KwX3FHEl-cI 

Lusitanian Ghosts – ‘For the Wicked’ (European Phonographic) Lusitanian Ghosts return with their latest single ‘For The Wicked’, The band is led by singer-songwriter and producer Neil Leyton and Swedish guitarist, singer and multi-instrumentalist Micke Ghost, with a cast of musical associates. We were blown away by the album last year and this single is more of the same with the use of their Portuguese chordophone instruments. ‘For The Wicked’ speaks to a lost and apathetic society.

It has a sense of melancholia as the track builds gradually to an anthemic finale.  Providing calm in a world which is certainly not calm. It’s a confident record that oozes charm and class.

PRE-SAVE ‘For The Wicked’ Stream   / Twitter  Facebook   Instagram   Spotify  YouTube   Website


Prima Donna – ‘Gimme Christmas’ (Wicked Cool Records) Now one of the coolest and best bands over there on the West coast have just rocked up and made us feel all festive with their sleazy Rock and Roller Crimbo tune.  I don’t want to hear that sleigh bells aren’t cool because we all know they are really and as these bad boys wind the clocks back to a time when these sort of things really mattered and people wanted to hear what bands had for the festive fun.  ‘Gimme Christmas’ is a stomper whilst ‘Misletow Blues’ is a horn honkin twelve-bar booze-up where Alvin Stardust and Shakey are invited to compare the office disco and these bangers are gonna be on loop and you’ll all bloody well enjoy yourselves.  Of course you will it’s fantastic.  Prima Donna win again!

Buy Gimme Christmas Here

Rich Ragany & The Digressions – ‘December In My Heart’ (self Release)  Pour yourself another eggnog and strap on some mistletoe and tinsel because Rags and the gang have gone and nicked bits from the Christmas goodies past and knocked up a warm n fuzzy tune for the festive season. If you have an office party slip this on and watch the girls from Accounts throw themselves around Health &Safeties handbags with festive abandon.  Socially distanced dancing of course the best festive number thus far and unless Mayhem does ‘Little Donkey’ this will be the festive pick at HQ’s party.

Buy ‘December In M Heart’ Here



Guerrilla Teens – ‘Faux King’s Guillotine (Self Release)  they just can’t stop monkeying around. some sleazy garage punk n roll sees the Teens knock out ‘Faux King’s Guillotine’ for our listening pleasure and the best place to pick it up would be on the first Friday of every month from our mutual friends at Bandcamp and whilst you’re there get the album as well. If you don’t you must be bananas.

Fist pumping and with a fantastic rolling riff around a great lyric “remove the head and the body will die”. indeed. Release the hounds or else




Dirty Fences – ‘Garbageman’ (Greenway Records)  What a headrush.  Dirty Fences do that to you, Chasing into the distance with a hot melody played through the medium of some dirty power pop with a decent dollop of Garage and attitude thrown in for good measure.  the B Side is even better, ‘Sometimes Sunshine’ is like Elvis Costello and the Attractions sped up hammering out a melody you feel like you’ve heard before but regardless it’s damn good and you know it and so do they.  New York has never sounded so cool  if only the Strokes could have sounded this good

Buy Garbageman Here



Shadows Of Night – ‘Wild Man’ (Wicked Cool Records)  oh hell yeah, shake it, baby, as Shadows Of Night are garage rock to the bone with the swirling keys and backbeat and a whole cave of reverb on the guitar as they shout to the devil on ‘wild Man’.  This is retro enough to come with a scratch and sniff Afghan Coat whiff.  The workout of ‘I Ain’t Got You’ is splendid from the freak-out solo to the keys it’s a blinder and of the highest order and knocks spots of a certain Boston band’s take on this.  If only Tyler and Perry could be this authentic.

Pick it up Here



Dead Dirty Dinosaurs – ‘Bad Timing’ (Riot Records / Golden Robot Records) ‘Bad Timing’ is the latest single from the Dead Dirty Dinosaurs and the third release with the force that is Riot Records and their parent company Golden Robot RecordsBad Timing is a very decent dirty understated riff with great production that helps the song as you focus on the melody and that dirty low-down riff.  Pre-order/pre-save Bad Timing HERE





Hells Ditch – ‘The Likes Of Us’ Laying down some modern American sounding indie post-punk rock the likes of Menzingers and not a million miles from the Americana of Gaslight Anthem but the punkier end.  The one thing I was surprised at was these guys are from Lincoln and not Boston. They have the potential to be a big noise on the scene over on this sound of the pond.


Buy or listen Here



Radio Days – ‘I Gotta Love’ (snap Records) Power Pop with a bit of edge sees Radio Days knock out a classic slice of Rock and Roll with a cool riff and lick and harmonies that hit you right in the heart. A backbeat the love to use and the perfect partner for the Subways or More Kicks. You even get a free pin badge with this slice of Milanese magic.






Rod Hamdallah – ‘Crawling Back’ (Hound Gawd! Records) Atlantas Swampy Garage Rock played like they’ve just crawled out of the ’50s and have landed on the ’60s shoreline. With a great melody that does what the geeta does, it’s retro rock n roll at its finest with a good hook on the chorus.  Sure you could dance to it and wig out on the solo. as for the instrumental on the B side?  Perfect for a 7″ b side I guess all weird and mystical for a band from Georgia. Always worth checking out.


Buy ‘Crawling Back’ Here


Automatics – ‘Octonary’ (Blank Generation Records) Limited pressing on white vinyl this record sees the Pistols Steve Jones and the Legend that is Johnny Thunders guest appearance email steve@blankgeneration.show for details of how to order your copy.  The songs of real interest are obviously ‘Wild One’ featuring Thunders iconic guitar tone wailing in on the solo and the track ‘Peace On Earth’ for the equally iconic tones of Steve Jones.

The Octonary EP features 4 previously unreleased tracks by the Automatics and is a limited edition release of 300 only on 7″ white vinyl, and comes housed in a luxury sleeve with 4-page lyrics and info booklet. The purpose of the EP is to promote the EIGHT albums of unreleased Automatics material that is now ready to download and stream on most platforms. For a cheeky peek at the Jonesy influenced ‘Peace On Earth’ open the video. Well worth having in your collection that’s a no brainer.


The self-titled album from Lusitanian Ghosts is a rock ‘n’ roll experience of a different kind. The Deluxe Edition was released late last year and has just made its way to my door. This musical collective features Neil Leyton, who will be well known to many of the readers here, having previously worked with a wide range of rockers from The Dogs D’amour to Ginger. He also, of course, has his own glittering career, which has also seen contributions from rock royalty such as the Backyard Babies. Leyton is a man of many talents, and I personally remember him from the much-missed Changes One record label days, where we used to have the odd chat over email. A lot of time has passed since then and I must admit to having fallen out of the loop for a while. And from what I can gather this is his first full album of original material since 2010’s The Betrayal of the Self. As I have said, however, this is a collective and more than the work of one man – and with it comes an entirely new sound, interestingly making use of traditional chordophone instruments: guitar-like, stringed instruments which also includes the lutes or lyres that we may often see accompanying Shakespeare plays. The group includes Micke Ghost, João Sousa, Omiri, O Gajo, members of Primitive Reason and other artists.

This new Portuguese musical project utilises these instruments in a more modern way, mixing a blend of traditional and rock ‘n’ roll sounds. It’s an inspiring, folk/rock mix which needs to be heard to be understood. The album kicks off with a short acoustic folk affair, with the breezy ‘A Long Time Ago…’, which sets out the attitude of the album before heading into the more rocking ‘The World’. While I’m hesitant to draw a lazy comparison to Santana, this opening of this song certainly bears that resemblance, particularly with the fat, smooth tone of the electric guitar over the acoustic arrangement. The album itself doesn’t bear out the comparison. Being such a creative project, the Lusitanian Ghosts album takes many twists and turns while always maintaining a very singular thread throughout – a constant traditional sound underlying it. The light indie sounds of the flowing ‘Trailer Park Memories’, or the rousing chorus of ‘Past Laurels’ with its singalong of ‘we are the truth to power’, mark for an exciting and thoroughly enjoyable album. While personally other highlights include ‘Godspeed to You’, the Bowie-esque ‘Memories of a Once Familiar Future’ or the great ‘Our Own Light’, there is no filler here, as every song serves to support the next. Interestingly, alongside the album is a release of a documentary which explores the history of these wonderful traditional instruments which are used to craft this most interesting of records. Watching that is the next thing on my to-do list. Meanwhile, listening to this, it is certainly good to have Leyton back recording, and with such strong material.



Author: Craggy Collyde