When a band goes on hiatus, however brief, it’s usually a reliance on the back catalogue to get the fans through the downtime; not so Last Great Dreamers, the once-antiquated dandies of the UK rock scene dusted off and rebooted in the last decade. No, the merry band of loyal supporters of this regenerated outfit revolving around the core of mainstays Marc Valentine and Slyder Smith has not one, but two new spin-off albums to get excited about while the Dreamers catch up on some much-needed beauty sleep.

Slyder Smith & the Oblivion Kids (Dreamers’ rhythm section, bassist Tim Emery and drummer, Rik Pratt) have a debut long player, ‘Charm Offensive’, released on 19th August through Ray Records, but first out of the last great gate is Marc Valentine and his ‘Future Obscure’ album, coming to a stereo near you on 8th July.

In the short space of time that news of this new, ten-track (twelve-track if you get the bonus-track-riddled compact disc) album has been with us Marc has wasted little time by releasing four (count ‘em!) tracks as digital singles: album opener, ‘Last Train Tonight’; ‘Mornington Avenue’, featuring Matt Dangerfield from The Boys; and double A-side, ‘Death Is Overrated/Break My Heart Anyway’, the latter featuring a guest appearance from Wreckless Eric. So, I have to approach this review from a slightly different angle: listeners already know what to expect from the album, I simply have to reassure them that the best tracks haven’t already been lifted from the tracklisting leaving nothing but filler. Spoiler alert: everything is going to be okay…

A Summer release is perfect for ‘Future Obscure’; the tracks blurring between that expected lilting power pop that is trademark Valentine and a hazy, lazy sentimentality, both conspiring to make a perfect soundtrack to long, hot days and cooler nights of reminiscence.

With synths set to stun, some of the power pop tunes that litter the tracklisting – the glorious ‘Swiss Launderette’, the great ‘Ghosts of Amsterdam’ – have every chance of filling a Fountains Of Wayne-shaped hole in the New Releases section of your record collection, while the more emotional-button-pushers – the terrific throwback that is ‘Arcades’, the fine ‘Fade Out In Blue’ for example – will have you questioning if that funny feeling that you have in your head as the sun sets is from the Summertime cider or the inevitable clawing back of memories. There’s even a tip of the bowler hat to the LGD day job via the lowslung rock ‘n’ roll of the fantastic ‘Zodiac Hotel’.

Mixed and produced by Dave Draper, that ‘Future Obscure’ sounds great should come as no surprise. That goes for the musicians that Valentine has surrounded himself with too: Richard Davies on guitar, and a return for former Last Great Dreamers rhythm section, bassist Steve Fielding and drummer Denley Slade, the latter so consistent in his work that he sounds almost robotic. Catch these guys backing Marc on a UK tour that starts on album release day.

We need great nights out at rock shows with friends and bright and breezy rock ‘n’ roll records like ‘Future Obscure’ at times like these. That three minute songs and small rooms full of sweaty people can help save us from the stresses of modern life is testament to the true power of music. Forget what that man from Sheffield with a creaking voice once (almost) told us; you CAN stop the hurt inside, when love and hiatus collide…

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Author: Gaz Tidey

First up today we bring you the new video from Crows. After Johnny’s recent review the band have released a video for ‘Closer Still’.

It’s an exercise in pummeling noise-rock. One of several unapologetically political songs on the album, where single James Cox says, “‘Closer Still’ was written about the fit-for-work scandals that kept happening where the Department for Work & Pensions were deeming people fit for work when they obviously weren’t able to, taking away what little support they received from the state in an attempt to save on expenditure. It really highlighted our government’s contempt for the vulnerable. People whose daily lives were incredibly difficult.” 

CROWS LINKS

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‘Mornington Avenue’ finds Marc Valentine team up with Matt Dangerfield, of THE BOYS and Rock n Roll legend. It’s the second single to be lifted from Valentine’s magnificent debut solo album ‘Future Obscure’. Valentine visits old haunts in Camden Town (ones that are still there that haven’t been gentrified quite yet) and reminisces about his roots at places like his old flat where he put his band together way back in ’89.

Some great use of vintage The Boys footage adds gravitas to the video which captures the sentiment of the song perfectly. Also some great appearances from Marc’s band on the album Steve Fielding, Denley Slade and Richard Davies (of Richard Davies & The Dissidents). ‘Future Obscure’ is available to pre-order here. Facebook

Joyce Manor have announced their 6th studio album, ’40 oz. To Fresno’, set for release on June 10th on Epitaph Records. New single ‘Gotta Let It Go’ clocks in at a massive one minute fifty-three seconds,  but it packs a lot in.

Joyce Manor will also be touring with The Menzingers in the UK in October of this year. Enjoy!

With ‘Combat Rock’ getting the special edition treatment with unreleased tracks The Clash also get the 4K treatment on their classic ‘Should I Stay Or Should I Go’

Marc Valentine – ‘Mornington Avenue’ (Arcane Wires Records) Its the second track lifted from July’s album release ‘Futures Obscure’ and the second absolute banger, it has to be said, courtesy of Mr. Valentine. The single features a guest appearance from the legend that is Matt Dangerfield for extra kudos. Marc said of the record that it was semi-autobiographical, and stories and memories from youthful misadventures. It’s the perfect antidote for what’s going on in the real world with a fantastic melody and feel power-pop perfection.

A left hook on the chorus, a right hook on the melody the vocals are carried on and a KO for the breakdown. You’ll have this song in your head for days – exactly what a single should sound like. Brilliant!

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Mad Brother Ward – ‘Ugly Life’ (Ruined Records) Two tracks on one side and a nice etched piece on the reverse all pressed on a nice blue wax. More than twenty-five years after releasing two widely acclaimed 7″ eps. legendary underground provocateur MAD BROTHER WARD returns with a two-fisted blast of straight-ahead punk rock. A true legend of the underground, Mad Brother Ward is currently known best for successfully stepping into the shoes of Joe Young in ANTiSEEN after Young died. This single is his first new record in almost thirty years. Lo-Fi production, its a crash and burn slab of nuclear punk rock. ‘Ugly Life’ be fucked, buckle up kids this is a blast.

‘I Just Wanna Die’ is an altogether slower more looking down the sight of a sniper’s rifle. It’s a catchy bugger that’s for sure with some neat neat neat guitar licks to fire it along. Punk as fuck! go get a copy before they’re all gone gone gone! Buy Here

Rock N Roll Manifesto – Vol Two (Rock n Roll Manifesto/NFT Records/Stamp Out Disco/ Hyperloop Records Loved the last 7″ from Rock N Roll Manifesto and love to see a four-way split especially when its new songs from bands I happen to love like this one. Sonny Fuckin Vincent ladies and Gentlemen opens up side one with a new and exclusive track entitled ‘Over A Cliff’. Of course it’s all killer. awesome guitar breaks, catchy melody, a stonking rhythm, and tempo but I knew it was going to sound great and that’s just one of the four – worth it for this one track alone) Sharing side one is The Manakins from Sweden with their tub-thumper ‘Dark Time For The City Lights’. What a killer chorus! Record of the month is here already and I’ve not even played side two yet!

Flip this over and you have London towns Miscalculations with their angular monochrome punk with the blitzkrieg that is ‘Controlling My Shadow’ leaving The Judex to close this sucker down with their unique sound of psychobilly vocals over some sharp chopping guitar chords. ‘Step Off Sucker’ is a one-take live in the studio banger with a cool as guitar break. Three out of four are unreleased and all four never on vinyl so don’t delay kids get this right Now!

Buy on Bandcamp from the USA Here / Stamp Out Disco (Australia) Here / NFT Records UK Here / Hyperloop Records UK Here

Gyasi – ‘She Don’t Care’ (Alive Records) Channeling the spirit of the good and the great of 70’s Glam from Bowie and Bolan to Mott The Hoople and T Rex Gyasi has bloody well nailed it (we’ve heard the album so…) This is another taster lifted from the long-player and another perfectly executed slab of Glam Rock that packs a punch and has such a flamboyant attitude to carry this off in 2022.

This guy deserves to break through and become a superstar from those platform boots alone never mind his exquisite taste in tunes. Stream the shit out of this and get a hold of that long-player when it comes out. Its a banger with twelve more Rockers to boot!

Stream Here

Stepmother – Stepmother EP (Legless Records) Wow, Hang on a minute, Australia is churning out Garage and punk rock by the bucket load and Stepmother from Melbourne are the latest to grab our attention. This three-track banger of an EP is proto-punk mana from the Gods. ‘Fade Away’ is the introduction before we get our breath taken away with the brilliant ‘Take Our BReath Away’ as it races towards the guitar break and shakes its shit all over our speakers.

A power trio to sit up and take notice of. This is a primal slab of Rock n Roll with a groove and plenty of boogie to let it all hang out to now its fair to say that on another round-up this would be record of the month – No doubt about it.

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The Boppers – ‘Motorbikin’ (Wild Kingdom Records) Yeah you read that right. Chris Spedding’s Motorbikin’ gets a slick release from the Boppers. Lifted from their upcoming album ‘White Lightning’. When the band performed as secret guests at The Hellacopters’ release party, the success was instant. Hear “Motorbikin’” and pre-order the album here: https://orcd.co/motorbikin

Automatics – ‘Cold Steel Serenade’ – with a galic leaning The Automatic release this their new single ‘Cold Steel Serenade’ and to be fair it does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a late-night lament with rousing guitar breaks and big chorus’.

Mean Jeans – ‘Hits From The Bog’ (Fat Wreck Chords) Heading out with Australian punks The Chats Mean Jeans drop a new digital release. Hits from the Bog features three unreleased tracks from their debut FAT release, ‘Tight New Dimension‘ . Head to your preferred digital platforms to hear it now!
 
“We just unearthed some recordings that got lost in the bog somewhere along the way.  Listening back, I have to wonder what we were smoking at the time, cuz there’s definitely some saxophone, a single jazz chord, and we’ve betrayed the ‘4 chords per song’ rule. Still, I think they’ll appeal to anyone feeling possessed by junk food and/or slime.” this is a fair assessment from the band. Sounds like it’s going to be an absolute blast on this tour Its sunshine pop-punk leaning heavily on the likes of Da Ramones (obviously) with an eye on what Evan Dando achieved. It’s goofy and inoffensive and live? It’ll be a blast Go get some!

The Venomous Pinks – ‘Apothecary Ailment’ ( SBÄM Records) second single from their upcoming album “Vita Mors” – out June 3, 2022 on SBÄM Records: https://shop.sbam.rocks Pre-save it here: https://bfan.link/vita-mors

Simon Juliff – ‘Stars’ (Dog Meat Records) The first new Dog Meat release in over a quarter of a century is the new single “Stars”, taken from the forthcoming album of the same name,  from reticent Melbourne pop-rock singer/songwriter Simon Juliff. Juliff, who was singer/guitarist/songwriter for Melbourne band The Roys in the ‘00s, was a friend of many of the ‘90s Melbourne bands on Dog Meat and nearly a Dog Meat signing with his first band The Evil Dead. Bonkers how these twists of fate happen. Happy recording for himself it’s taken until now to release some tunes and well worth the wait it is too. A great teaser for what’s to come on the album later this year. Facebook

Jaguero – Worst Weekend Ever (Epidemic Records) Five-track EP from Italian punks Jaguero kicks off with a really rounded production that fills the air with a warmth that I wasn’t really expecting. Influences from some of the big American pop-punkers and Alt smash acts to the Nirvana like ‘Negative, Awesome!’ and the excellent mash-up that is ‘Get Along’.

With a range of influences yet making a cohesive end product will see Jaguero do well when they can find their niche impressive EP to be getting on with.

Bandcamp Here Digital Here

‘Last Train Tonight’ is the debut solo single from UK songwriter Marc Valentine. Released on 1 April through his own Arcane Wires label, it’s taken from his forthcoming album Future Obscure.

As frontman of cult British power-pop outfit  Last Great Dreamers, Valentine has brought sparkle to venues and turntables alike with his distinctive vocals, wry charm and songbook of secret classics. Now, with his favourite guitar in tow, he’s heading out on a solo adventure, loading his flight case with a fresh set of tunes, and polishing the trademark twinkle in his eye.

Says Marc: “A twist of fate and the things we can’t control. Taking the wrong way home and crossing paths with a bunch of midnight meatheads who can’t comprehend a guy in eyeliner. Demolition smiles and grunting fists, as you fall to the ground with the smell of blood, sweat, piss and beer in your nostrils. I’ve been there once or twice, but somehow always managed to make it home.”

Debut solo album Future Obscure sees Valentine building on his past while expanding his sonic palette, to craft a collection of should-be hits – 7-inch-shaped songs that move both body and mind. Recorded and produced by Dave Draper (Wildhearts, Professionals), and featuring collaborations with Wreckless Eric and The Boys’ Matt Dangerfield, this is a reflective, sometimes defiant album in the golden-era tradition – a pop record from the heart, packed with songs to holler, heal and hold.

‘Last Train Tonight’ is available to presave through all the usual platforms here 

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https://www.instagram.com/marcvalentine45/

Well well well.  This is a blast from the past and pressed on a chunky piece of plastic as well it’s the 25th anniversary of ‘Retrosexual’ so what better way to celebrate than to stick it out fully remastered and on the old deluxe 180g black circle.  Very nice indeed.

Man, I’m feeling a little down holding this record in my hand thinking its been twenty-five years since this was originally released that is until I chuckle at the cover art in the form it was originally intended to be.  I never was concerned about the fact that there was a lady dead or alive underwater but what a ghastly jumper they’re  wearing is that wrong of me? Anyway, any blues I might have had quickly blew away once the needle dropped.

Firstly I notice there are no bells and whistles added or bonus tracks etc which is cool because ‘Retrosexual’ set the bar for Last Great Dreamers and to tinker with the original formula would have been wrong so I’m pleased with that. Secondly, remastering is like the Harry Potter of Rock and Roll acts sort of the dark arts it’s not like remixing its more than that.  Making a record sonically better for record over CD or fit for radio is a whole dark art and once the needle drops on ‘Chrome Tonic’ I’m taken back to a simpler time when rock and roll wasn’t so instant it was harder to find and you had to be in the club to get to know about the new bands and visit venues to catch support bands to see what was out there people seemed more committed to their cause and stumbling across this after reading a review wasn’t a disappointment at all.  The chorus and hook on ‘Chrome Tonic’ is still twenty-five years on such a rush and an instantly gratifying hook.  Bring it on.

I’ll fess up and admit the last time I played this record was when they released ’13 Floor Renegade’ to contrast and compare but I thoroughly enjoyed it then and I’ll admit now hearing the Acoustic vs Electric riff-a-rama on ‘Last Great Dreamer’ in all its trashy delivery is a beautiful thing.  What a tune! It drew from the ’70s glam through the mid-’80s Hanoi rocks years and beyond but it wasn’t just copying it was being inspired and inspiring and that’s the difference, top tune then and top tune now its lost none of its charm and class.

‘Save You’ was a bit tougher but mopped up what was a super strong opening three tracks. Some albums from years ago never live up to the memory I’m not on about your favourite albums that always stay with you but the ones that bubble under. ‘Paper Crown’ was always a beauty with its Bolan meets Bowie glamness with a welcome dose of Ian Hunter – this record should have been a popular hit that much is a tragedy.  I’m glad they are back and going strong and this wasn’t a one-off. They weren’t afraid to soften things like ‘Kings And Keepsakes’ alongside the out and out rockers like ‘Charlie’ and they could boogie-woogie as well like on ‘Only Crime’ and I always liked the Hanoi Rocks DNA that ran through ‘Streets Of Gold’.

Don’t take my word for it go and treat yourself and pick this one up on vinyl. If you’ve not heard it in a while then it’ll be a treat and if you’ve never heard the band then what are you waiting for?  Jump in ignore the tartan trews and platform boots they were never cool but the music is first class and ‘Retrosexual’ is the sound of a band living and loving it and pouring their heart and soul into the grooves of a great record, Buy it!

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Buy ‘Retrosexual’ 25th remastered edition Here

Author: Dom Daley